Meet Emily. Emily is a pastor's wife from Kentucky who grew up steeped in Southern culture: sweet tea, southern hospitality, a wardrobe of monograms and smocking, and church. Lots of church.
Emily has this friend, Natalie. Natalie and her husband decided back in 2009 to adopt a child from Ethiopia. As Emily watched her friends go through the process of adoption, she slowly became aware of the plight of the orphan. A seed of change had been planted, and Emily slowly became aware of the complexity of the orphan crisis in Africa.
Then, in 2010, Natalie sent Emily a joyful message: they had received a referral! They had a son! His name was Tedros, and accompanying the message was a photo of little Tedi. A tiny, espresso-skinned boy with big, serious brown eyes and a runny nose stared back at her. As Emily looked into the haunting eyes of that sweet boy, her heart was positively broken for all of the young boys and girls like him that were waiting for loving families. Children who were living in institutions, where tired and overworked caregivers labored to meet the basic demands of scores of orphaned children, with no extra time for cuddles and personal attention. Children who often arrived to the orphanages malnourished, sick, or grieving the loss of a family member. Children who desperately needed someone to love them.
Around this same time, Emily learned of a young 10-year-old girl, Sydney, who was selling t-shirts to feed and care for orphaned children in Ghana, Africa. God had broken Sydney's young heart for the orphan and, with the support of her family, she had ambitiously created the non-profit organization Feeding the Orphans. She had an intense desire to care for orphaned children, many her same age, living halfway around the world. Emily admired the work that Sydney and her family were accomplishing and the bravery of such a young girl to undertake such a big cause.
Fast forward to spring of 2011. Easter was on the horizon and Emily began the southern tradition of putting together the "Easter Ensemble." Elaborate dresses for her two girls, plus of course new shoes and matching hair bows. Emily herself would need something that coordinated and would photograph well on Easter Sunday. And her husband would need a few items as well--everyone needed to look their best. Emily pulled out her smart phone and began clicking over to some of her favorite sites. As she began adding items to her online shopping carts, a message came across her phone. Sydney of Feeding the Orphans was asking for donations: for just $4 a child, they could deworm local kids in Ghana, or a single t-shirt purchase could feed an orphaned child for a month. A MONTH.
As Emily looked at the totals in her shopping cart, she realized just how far her Easter wardrobe money could go toward helping children in Africa. Instead of frilly dresses and cute bows, all Emily could see was sunken eyes, hollow cheeks and hunger-swollen bellies. What an easy choice: instead of frills, she would provide food. Instead of adorning herself, she would act in obedience to God's command to care for the orphan. She deleted her cart, clicked over to the Feeding the Orphans website, and bought t-shirts for her entire family. The Fox Family would DO SOMETHING that Easter. God had been planting seeds of change in her heart for a while, and finally, those seeds took root and began to grow into a passion for the orphan.
Emily told a few friends and family members what her Easter plans were, and although she received a few blank stares or strange looks, many of her friends and family joined her. The following year, even more people signed on, and with the power of word of mouth, the idea began to spread. In 2013, the first Ambassador team was assembled, which took the campaign even farther. In 2014, Forget the Frock built an official website and dedicated Facebook page and with the power of social media, grew exponentially in reach. Each year, more people hear of the movement and change their Easter traditions to embrace compassion over fashion. Each year, the impact of their Easter shirt purchases grows, and amazing Kingdom work is being accomplished by many charities around the world through this simple change in Easter traditions.
Please don't mistake this movement as an exercise in consumerism, a gimmick to get you to buy something else. We simply recognize that many people are shopping for new clothing around Easter time, and that the average American will spend more than $60 per person on Easter clothing. In fact, Americans already spend nearly $15 BILLION on the Easter holiday each year. We just think that, if you're already going to buy something new, how amazing would it be if that purchase would benefit someone in need? Instead of filling corporate coffers, why don't we direct that money toward filling hungry stomachs or providing a path to independence for a woman enslaved? We invite you to join us this Easter: Forget the Frock and invest in a life instead.
Emily Fox, Co-founder
The woman behind the vision, Emily's life has taken quite a turn since that Easter in 2011, when God rocked her world, upturned her priorities and opened her eyes to the plight of the orphan. From corresponding with individuals and churches to speaking on behalf of Forget the Frock, Emily now spends her time encouraging others to embrace the commands of James 1:27 and "Dress with a Purpose" on Easter and throughout the year. A pastor's wife, Emily married her college sweetheart, Jason, and lives in central Kentucky, where they raise their adorable daughters, Stella and Vivian.
Jason Fox, Co-founder
In 2011, Jason thought wearing t-shirts on Easter morning seemed like a novel idea; little did he know that four years later, he would be helping lead a nation-wide movement. From website manager to church media specialist, Jason serves as the tech guru for all things Forget the Frock. As a pastor, Jason is a great resource for other pastors wanting to take this campaign to their congregation.
Angela Parker, Creative Director
With a keen eye for graphics and a huge heart for the orphan, Angela uses her talents to handle the visual message of the movement and connect people to the campaign through marketing and media engagement. Her dedication to growing the social media presence and diligent work to create promotional and marketing materials for the campaign help to spread the message of Forget the Frock far and wide.
Sylvia White, Ambassador Team Leader
Sylvia, the newest member of the Forget the Frock team, was vital in keeping social media channels updated and assisted in engaging Forget the Frock followers online during our 2016 campaign. Sylvia has agreed to lead our Ambassador Team in 2017 and will be the point of contact for our network of Ambassadors around the globe, keeping them informed and giving them the resources they need to effectively spread the campaigns message.
Each spring, our team of Ambassadors works to spread the message of Forget the Frock around the world. They share Forget the Frock messages on social media platforms, hand out business cards and flyers at events, and coordinate local campaigns at churches across the country. Does Forget the Frock excite you? Is this movement something you want to share with others? Do you maintain an active social media presence? Are you willing to take the message of this movement to your circle of influence? Would you like to bring Forget the Frock to your church or organization? If so, we could use you as part of the 2017 Forget the Frock Ambassador team! Join our Ambassador Team here.
Each year, the Forget the Frock movement is featured on a variety of blogs, exposing new audiences to the concept of "Dressing with a Purpose" on Easter. Do you have a blog? Are you interested in blogging about the Forget the Frock movement? Maybe you have a podcast, You Tube channel or Vimeo video blog and would like to interview Emily or feature others involved in the movement. We would love to partner with you! Email us and be sure to include a link to your blog or channel.