Doing Good in the Neighborhood
This year, the store’s president Ken Szilasi and his wife Tracy selected two local non-profit organizations as the beneficiaries of the store’s effort, which the Szilasis named “Food For People and Pets”. The drive was appropriately named because one of the chosen non-profits, Stewpot Community Services, focuses on physically and spiritually nourishing Jackson’s hungry human population and the other, Community Animal Rescue and Adoptions (C.A.R.A.), specializes caring for the area’s unwanted pets.
The campaign’s goal was to engage Maison Weiss customers in the store’s commitment to help feed Jackson’s hungry. The pledge was simple. For each email address submitted to Maison Weiss over a three week period, the store would purchase one can of food to donate to either C.A.R.A. or Stewpot. “Tracy and I love Jackson and want to see it prosper. We have a very loyal and philanthropic client base that enjoy participating in efforts that seek to better our city, its people and its pets.” says Ken Szilasi. At the end of the three week period, Maison Weiss had collected over 1,100 email addresses, which prompted the store’s purchase of the same number of cans for the two organizations to split.
Upon completion of the drive, representatives of C.A.R.A. and Stewpot met at Maison Weiss to box the cans and take them to their respective food pantries. C.A.R.A. board members Jack Welch and Denise Cantrell were thrilled to accept, on behalf of the
organization, over 500 cans of food for both dogs and cats.
Of the drive Cantrell said: “We love to see Jackson-area businesses stepping up to the plate and coming up with creative ways to rally the community around caring for animals.” Stewpot’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Spencer was also in attendance to graciously accept canned food on behalf of Stewpot’s food pantry.
With the help of their staff and representatives from each organization Ken and Tracy loaded the canned goods. Then, led by Frank Spencer, the two attended a tour of the Stewpot facilities. “Our daughter, Kendall, loves volunteering at Stewpot. We are so glad to have the opportunity to personally experience all the good that happens here.” Tracy stated at the end of the tour. But, the store’s participation didn’t end there.
Maison Weiss employees were given the opportunity to sign up to spend time volunteering as a group at both organizations. Five Maison Weiss employees recently served a weekday meal at Stewpot. The group included makeup artists Ashton Mathis and Gabrielle Black, accessory buyer Tisha Black, contemporary buyer Ashley Weilenman and Ken Szilasi. “It’s great to have companies
and individuals involved with our organization on multiple levels. There’s nothing quite like being a part of a noon-time meal at Stewpot.” said Frank Spencer. Tisha Black, Maison Weiss employee said of the experience: “It was so refreshing to be able to take a break from a normal day’s work and spend some time helping the community. I look forward to our next team volunteer opportunity!”
Stewpot provides daily assistance at no charge to over 650 central Jackson residents who are in need of food, shelter, clothing, love and encouragement. CARA is a No-Kill Animal Rescue that cares for an average of 400 neglected, abused or unwanted pets daily.
Maison Weiss is a high-end women’s clothing store that operates in Jackson and Oxford MS. The Jackson store is located at Highland Village and the Oxford boutique, MW2, is on The Square. The stores carry luxury apparel, fragrance, skincare, cosmetic, shoe and accessory brands like Escada, Bond No. 9, Erno Laszlo, Laura Mercier, Prada and Gurhan.