The Beauty Bus Foundation's misson: to deliver loving kindness, support and compassion to seriously ill patients and their caregivers through beauty services.
All the tribulations faced in 2020 have increased the importance of self care. We have uplifted ourselves by wearing “real” clothes, applying makeup for the first time in weeks, video chatting friends, and giving ourselves a hug and a bright manicure. The absence of human interaction has greatly impacted our daily lives, and many of us crave the caring touch of our hairdressers, nail technicians, and massage therapists.
In a much different time, eleven years ago, Wendy Marantz noticed the absence of these services when her sister, Melissa, was home-bound, suffering from a degenerative neuromuscular disease. Care practices, like in-home spa and salon services drastically helped Melissa when her condition otherwise inhibited her sense of normalcy. After Melissa passed, Wendy and her family searched for an organization to support so they could “pay it forward” to other families who were similarly struggling. When they couldn’t find an organization that provided beauty services to home-bound patients, Wendy created one of her own.
Over a decade later, Beauty Bus has benefited from this determination, becoming a full-time operation for Wendy and her team. To date, Beauty Bus has serviced over 16,000 clients with 22,000 beauty services and 58,000 Bags of Beauty products in the greater Los Angeles area. All services are complimentary and made possible by beauty professional volunteers and partners like Ronald McDonald House Charities and the American Red Cross. Beauty Bus operates with four main services: Pop-Up Salons, Beauty Series, Bags of Beauty, and Home Visits. Pop-Up Salons occur in various medical care facilities in California and Colorado, servicing medically disadvantaged clients. Beauty Series are similar to Pop-Up Salons, but consistently provide weekly services to 3 designated hospitals. Bags of Beauty are filled with full-sized beauty products so patients can continue to practice self-care beauty routines after their pampering services. Lastly, Home Visits arrive in the Beauty Bus during a year long period to assist both home-bound clients and their caregivers.
Home Visits through Beauty Bus are unique in that they service both the client and their dedicated caregivers. Given that about 1 in 3 Americans will be caregivers to a loved one in their lifetime, focusing on caregiver care was a central part of the Beauty Bus organization and their mission from day one. Wendy recognized the immense toll caregiving takes on one’s own self-care; simply taking the time to go get a haircut, manicure, or spa service can feel selfish and unnecessary to caregivers when they are focused on their loved one’s well being. Thus, Beauty Bus brings the care to them, acknowledging that caregivers can’t fully help their patients unless they take care of themselves first.
After over a decade of operation, Beauty Bus is looking to expand their existing services to impact additional clients in need. Although Wendy admits that Beauty Bus would welcome any assistance from beauty professionals with open arms, she encourages those who are not based in California or Colorado to instead volunteer in their own communities.
Wendy encourages you to think sustainably as you consider which organizations to support, helping your local clients and communities in ways that align with the Beauty Bus mission. As Wendy and her family keep Melissa’s legacy alive through Beauty Bus, think of the ways you can pay it forward by providing loving beauty services to those who don’t have access to salons or spas.
Beauty Bus was founded in memory of Melissa Marantz Nealy, whose life was cut short at the young age of 28 by a degenerative neuromuscular disease. Melissa became homebound as her disease progressed. In an effort to lift her spirits, her family arranged for in-home haircuts, manicures, and facials. Melissa said these treatments made her feel "human again."
The impact on Melissa's emotional well-being was profound. She felt nurtured by the beauty professionals who provided a momentary escape from her disease. Melissa’s family founded Beauty Bus Foundation in 2009 tooffer this same experience of dignity, hope and respite to other families when they need it most.
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