The Socially Responsible Sweatshop of Kent (SRS) is dedicated to fighting food insecurity in Portage County, Ohio. They also support our environment using vintage sewing machines to create beautiful, useful, sellable items from textiles otherwise destined to the landfill. Supplies are donated by individuals and companies who support the SRS mission. The created items are lovingly crafted and priced affordably, with one hundred percent of the proceeds from sales donated to local agencies to fight food insecurity (hunger). Operating costs are only paid by special donations and the annual raffle to cover the required non-profit insurance. Its magical how the SRS raises funds to fight for good!
The Socially Responsible Sweatshop of Kent is led by a board of SRS Members: Mary Ann Kasper, Jennifer Wang, Linda Seeman, Jill Hazelton, and Heidi Weisel; and operated by about sixty volunteers ranging in age from high school to well-retired. Please consider joining the SRS if you know how to sew. They have regular workshop hours where you can work in the shop, or you can pick up projects to work on at home. There are always sewing tasks which range from easy to advanced that need to be done.
Socially Responsible Sweatshop's new location on South Mantua with many sewing machines, yellow walls and lots of activity.
The Socially Responsible Sweatshop of Kent has relocated several times since its inception. The group most recently moved into the Christ Episcopal Church of Kent at 118 S. Mantua St and is very appreciative to be in this clean and safe space where the mission of the church matches nicely with the mission of the SRS. Without this space, the SRS board questions if it would be able to continue its service to the hungry members of our community.
The Sweatshop hours are Sunday and Monday 1-3, please feel free to stop in if you are interested in volunteering. The local community is urged to visit the Socially Responsible Sweatshop of Kent at the Haymaker Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9:00am-1:00pm under the Haymaker Bridge on Franklin Avenue in Kent. The SRS could use a dedicated Market Team, for anyone interested in this important aspect of fulfilling our mission.
The Socially Responsible Sweatshop of Kent has donated over $32,000 to fight local food insecurity in just the past two years and are on-goal to meet or beat last years’ donation level!
Busy selling merch at the Farmers' Market
Some of the local projects assisted by the proceeds of the Socially Responsible Sweatshop include donations in 2022 of $7,000 to Kent Social Services (July), $3,000 plus soaps and toiletries to Rural Relief Mobile Food Pantry (May), $900 (January) and $1,500 (July) to the PMHA / Haymaker Market collaboration. They also donate when able to Raven Packs and other eligible hunger fighting organizations. Occasionally, the SRS passes on donations of non-food related supplies to Miller Community House, Freedom House, Safer Futures, and Cocoon Makers of Ravenna.
SRS is also open Tuesday and Friday 10-12 am.
Learn more about the SRS here:
Mary Ann Kasper and Lonnie Hawks pose at the Farmers' Market