Oren sells handmade jewelry to benefit Gillespie Center


Photo courtesy of beads_by_eliza on Instagram

Eliza Oren ’21 sells jewelry for $10 per piece. All proceeds go to the Gillespie Center food pantry.

As we reach the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic together, it can be beneficial to support others during this difficult period. Many are using their extra time at home to give back to the community, including Staples students.

Eliza Oren ’21 is making and selling beaded necklaces to her friends and classmates. The proceeds will be going to the Gillespie Center, a non-profit organization in Westport that is connected to Homes with Hope. Homes with Hope is an organization that aims to end homelessness in Fairfield County. Oren says she was encouraged by the goodwill she saw around her recently and wanted to create an opportunity to give back to others herself. 

“I was inspired to make the necklaces when I heard about all of the kind things others in my community were doing,” Oren said. 

The necklaces are made by hand by Oren herself, using small beads (that come in 48 colors) and wire. She adds charms, including hearts, shells, peace signs, flowers, stars, smiley faces and more. A crimping tool is also used to adjust the ends of each piece. 

Each necklace is different from the last. While some of Oren’s clients were junior girls, she was surprised to see a mix of buyers involved in her sales. Her goal was to earn $1,000 on behalf of the Gillespie Center which her parents said they would match. Fortunately, she was able to surpass this goal in earning a total of $2,162.

I was inspired to make the necklaces when I heard about all of the kind things others in my community were doing.

— Eliza Oren '21

Ruby Coleman ’21 purchased one of Oren’s necklaces and was eager to show off the piece. 

“I wanted to buy a necklace because I think it’s really important to support organizations such as the Gillespie Center during this time and the necklaces are really cute,” Coleman said. 

Coleman and her classmates have shown their support for the fundraising.

“It’s[…] a really relaxing and fun way to spend my time,” Oren said. “It’s nice to have a hobby that keeps you busy during quarantine.”