Few people have perfected the art of the party like Julieanna Goddard, AKA YesJulz. The 25-year-old has already built a small empire on showing people a good time and now is the self-proclaimed Director of Vibes at Yes Julz Agency, her own blossoming group of media-savvy women who dabble in everything from podcasting to music to fashion to event planning to social media and probably a dozen other things we're forgetting.
But one of the events closest to Goddard's heart doesn't happen in the club. This Sunday, January 31, she and her team will partake in their monthly Hashtag Lunchbag event. From 12:30 to 2 p.m., Goddard and company will pack lunches for the children of Miami at Lou La Vie (1444 Biscayne Blvd.) until their fingers are sore. Uber, the event sponsor, will be providing rides for volunteers to get to the drop off locations.
Hashtag Lunchbag is an event that started in L.A. in 2012 by a small group of friends. It has since spread into a nationwide project, and anyone can bring the event to his or her own city. We caught up with Goddard before the event this Sunday to talk lunch and giving back.
New Times: When did you first hear about Hashtag Lunchbag?
Julieanna Goddard: I heard about Hashtag Lunchbag from a friend of mine, Fefi, who was a part of the original group who started the movement in L.A. That was a few years back. There are now hundreds of groups around the world doing their own versions of Hashtag. It's a great cause.
Why is it important for you to throw an event like this?
I'm out here throwing parties and Snapchatting to hundreds of thousands of people on a daily basis, which is fun and great, but I've been given a platform, and it's important that I use it for causes that are greater than bringing people together on a dance floor. I want to inspire other young people who follow me to give back to their communities — to use their time, resources, and platform to make a difference.
Who exactly are these lunches going to?
The lunches are going to those who need it the most. We paired up with MCI, Miami Childrens Initiative, and started distributing the lunches in the neighborhood where Charles Drew Elementary is. We've developed such a great relationship with the families in that community that we have made a whole separate event for them (stay tuned for Fun Fridays) where we go and do arts and crafts, music classes, etc., with the kids there. So this month, we will be reverting back to our old ways and going to different distribution points. Bayside, the court house — we are always looking for new areas to go to as well. Send us suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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What can people do to help and contribute to Hashtag Lunchbag?
Best thing people can do is show up and spread the word or even better, start your own initiative! I love when I see that. We always need sponsors. The food gets pretty expensive, and we are aiming to reach 2,000 lunches per event this year. Water is the most expensive thing. We have made it easy for people to donate, you can go to gofundme.com/hashtaglunchbagMIA! We need about $1,500 per Hashtag to cover all expenses. There's also more information on hashtaglunchbag.org.
Do people need to bring anything? Donations? Food?
For this Hashtag Lunchbag, we will still need 500 slices of cheese, 500 slices of meat, ten pounds of tomatoes, 500 pieces of fruit, and 500 waters. We also accept $10 donations onsite every event.
Does the Yes Julz Agency have any other plans for events that give back to the community?
Giving back to the community is a huge part of our overall plan as an agency and my future as an individual. Our motto is "Bridging the gap between cool and conscious." We are young, and we love to have fun, but we care about our world and the people in it. We want to promote consciousness in our culture and inspire others to do the same. We will be starting an organization this year that focuses on helping children in neighborhoods with limited resources cultivate their skills and talents. I want to make sure these kids have the tools they need to explore music, art, fashion, and, most importantly, learn entrepreneurial skill sets. We are also getting involved with the Flint water crisis pretty soon. One step at a time! Hashtag is a great first step.
Hashtag Lunchbag. 12:30 p.m. Sunday, January 31, at Lou La Vie, 1444 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.