Wedding photographer memorializes pandemic while supporting domestic violence shelter.
When the COVID-19 lockdown began in March, Ashley Marks, a wedding and portrait photographer, looked for ways to help her community in Evans, GA. She landed on a perfect fit: Use her artistic skills to memorialize the pandemic lockdown for her neighbors, and create charitable giving in the process.
Her neighborhood responded with enthusiasm to her offer to take "family quarantine porch portraits" in exchange for donations to a local nonprofit. The neighbors quickly raised about $600 for SafeHomes, a shelter that provides assistance to domestic violence victims, and Ashley also trades photos for donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"My neighbors wanted to help but didn't know where to start," says Ashley. "The portraits gave them the opportunity to memorialize this crazy time for their kids and also give back to the community. Many didn't know SafeHomes even existed. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved."
Ashley chose SafeHomes because she feels a deep concern for the safety of women and children facing domestic violence, especially during the pandemic when they may have nowhere else to go. She feels lucky to have a job and a healthy partnership with her spouse. But, she says, even her family is experiencing more stress at home, fueled by the uncertainties of the pandemic.
Ashley hopes that her charity work will inspire others to give back. She noticed that the majority of her neighbors went way above and beyond the minimum donation she required for the photos.
"It's the butterfly effect — one positive act inspires more positive acts," says Ashley. "We take care of each other. SafeHomes helps its clients who then give back to others when they can. Our community thrives together."
Learn more about SafeHome's mission to transform victims of domestic violence into survivors here.