The Journey

It’s all about the journey, right? In late November 2020, I woke up pretty early in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Something was on my mind about COVID-19 and how I could do my part. Earlier in March, I was thinking about designing a unity symbol that could have global appeal. But I could barely draw a stick figure. Once I reached out to a friend and graphics designer in Brazil about the logo and wristband idea, he sent me the proof a day later and Unity Bands was born.

The original mission was to improve community morale during the pandemic because let’s face it, morale in early December before the vaccine rollout was in the dumps.

Taking a quick scroll through our Facebook Wall, it’s amazing what we collectively put together over the last few months. A few thank you’s are in order.

Karen, my wife, CFO and quality control.

Mom and Dad, as always, my #1 fan.

The Unity Bands brain trust: T, Becky, Mark and 360 Marketing Online Khalil, Luke, and Dave.

An unanticipated benefit of supporting COVID-19 response efforts was getting to meet some incredible people:

The bands (music not wrist). Yes, we hosted two organic fundraisers earlier this year, something we’ll conduct again in the future. We had some amazing talent perform for Super Sunday and Tribute including Sly 45 Uncle John’s Clan The Counterfeiters and Eric John Kaiser

The media. We’ve had some great people getting the word out to the community about what we are doing including the Severna Park Voice What’s Up? Media St. Andrew By The Bay Parish 27east Local TV, Inc.

I really enjoyed getting a chance to meet our partners and sitting down with them. When I met with Eddie from Garry’s Grill & Catering in March, he asked me, “What are you going to do after $10,000?” Chef Rehan of Umami Mediterranean kitchen. covered a lot of ground including social injustice and the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Doris Williams of The Williams Home Team of Long & Foster for her support in our biggest event so far in the Bowie Baysox giveaway and for her work with the Gifting for Gratitude program. Stefan Holtz — Northrop Realty, A Long & Foster Company for sponsoring a raffle that engaged our community in a fun and interactive way to donate.

Smyth Jewelers for donating a bracelet. Annapolis Town Center for inviting us to the JAGMAC concert. Our 5 medical partners for allowing me to run with this crazy idea. East Hampton High School Interact for stepping up and figuring out how to raise $1,500 in donations.

Logistics. Wristband Resources and Spreadshop for hosting the bands and merch. T H E Artist Agency and Taofik for the photo shoot.

All of you who bought bands and made donations.

And most importantly, the reason I’m doing this in the first place, our COVID-19 frontline workers and researchers.

So, where do we go from here? I knew from the start Unity Bands had a limited lifespan. We literally hosted our launch party three days before the first vaccines became available in the U.S. I vowed to do this Unity Bands thing until COVID was no longer a problem and the medical facilities no longer needed COVID funding. Even though the U.S. is drastically different now than in early December 2020 with life returning to normal for many, the invisible threat is still moving around us. The variants are a problem, there is a nationwide nursing shortage, and secondary illnesses caused by COVID-19 are being studied. There’s going to be a long and nasty tail associated with this pandemic. And as we exit this dark tunnel, I am reminded that a lot of people did not make it to the other side.

Unity Bands will continue past our $10K goal. We will have a bigger impact. Several things in the works are a one-year strategic plan and a 501(c)(3) application. Partnerships with community-focused people and having more volunteers will be vital to success.

Again, thank you for your support.

Hope. Fight. Unity.

John

John Schirrippa, Founder

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