Gina Drohan is one busy woman.
The 40-year-old Novato resident is not only a mom and owner of three local businesses, but has recently started an exchange that provides clothing, furniture, shoes and household items to needy local families.
Called Ladybug Connections, the effort was created in honor of Drohan’s Romanian-born grandmother, Lucretia Carlomagno or "Ketzie" as she was known to friends, who died last December at the age of 92.
When Ketzie's family asked her how she wanted to be remembered after her passing, she said that whenever they saw a ladybug they should think of her.
“My grandmother was someone who loved people unconditionally, whether or not they were working, homeless or whatever,” says Drohan, who owns salons in Petaluma, Cotati and Napa. “She herself was very poor when she was growing up, but her mother would always leave out a dress for the gypsy families passing through…She respected their way of life.”
Drohan got the idea after a friend took her to the food pantry at where dozens of families line up each week to receive food donations. But besides food, families needed clothing, school supplies for the kids and furniture.
Drohan realized that while she couldn’t purchase everything families who came to the pantry required, she could start an organization that spread the word via the Internet to come up with items.
"I'm just an organizational kind of a person," she says. "Plus, I have a ton of contacts."
The community as well as Drohan’s own employees have responded quickly to Ladybug Connections. Every day Drohan posts needed items on her Facebook page, which can be dropped off at Lucchesi or at one of the local Massage Envy salons.
If someone isn’t able to drop off the items, Drohan is so energetic that she says she will gladly stop by your house and pick them up.
But don't think this is just another charity.
“It’s about reusing and repurposing stuff and finding a new home for the items,” Drohan says. “When families’ basic needs can’t be met, the community as a whole can’t be strong.”
To donate items, check out Ladybook Connections on Facebook or email Drohan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org