We had the good fortune of connecting with Deborah Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deborah, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Do something for someone other than yourself. It is just that easy. When we think of others and consider the needs of others it brings about a balance in our lives. Don’t do it for the gram, the loves, the likes, or for selfish reasons. Do something for someone else because it is the right thing to do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I worked in the Information Technology industry for over 23 years. I had no idea that my path would lead me to where I am today. The journey to Block Love Charlotte began when I was working in IT at a law firm in uptown Charlotte, NC. I would see the same people every day out side of the building where I worked and some would be sleep on benches while others may have been flying signs asking for change. I started packing extra food in my lunches and providing them the meals as I passed by and then I eventually started having conversations. I began asking what they needed verses assuming I knew what those needs were. This was back in 2016 when I myself was fleeing domestic violence and going through a divorce. My kids and I were on the verge of eviction barely having enough to eat ourselves but we switched up our shopping routine and began buying our meals from a dollar brand store so we could include additional items for houseless neighbors I’d see around my job. In 2018 at a Charlotte City Council Meeting where warming stations for our homeless were being addressed I signed up for an opportunity to speak and I used that time to share what I had noted as a travesty in the city where the benches used by the houseless to sleep on at night were being taken up or bars had been added to deter them from being used by our neighbors. I also spoke about the horrors of families with children where the kids were basically latch key kids at seedy motels with no snacks or family to greet them when they returned from school. At that meeting is where I met a group of individuals that informed me of a place called, The Wall, where the houseless conjugated. This informal group served their every Sunday morning at 8:30am providing donated clothing items as well as a few other goods to our neighbors. My family and I joined their efforts but soon realized that through donations, we could do more, from providing a hot breakfast and being more intentional about the donations so that they catered to the specific needs of our neighbors. A lot of negative connotations were associated with the Wall but when we there serving I never felt anything but love, even on bad days. Being at that wall put me in the mind of hanging out on the block when I was young. The block for me back in the day was where all the fun happened. It was where the parties would go down, the latest gossip could be heard, and it was where everyone gathered to give and receive love. This is how Block Love Charlotte was birthed.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A huge shoutout to Dr. Arloishia Israel of Stepping Stone Consulting for not only sowing into my vision but for providing me sound advise and wisdom as well as letting me know I can do whatever I set my mind to do. Shoutout to all of our followers and to everyone that believes in our mission of spreading love. It is because of you all that we are able to hit these streets every single day ensuring no one goes hungry and people get connected to the right resources. Shoutout to the amazing team of Block Love Charlotte, my husband Ryan Phillips, Leondra Garrett, Larry Mims, Tobin Murphy, Terri Newton Karam, Lorissa Mau, Kiara Blue, Cedric Farrish, Jr., Ciara Farrish, and to all of the volunteers that make this work look easy.
Photos courtesy of Block Love Charlotte