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How Two Estheticians Give Back

The best aspect about being a part of L+A is the ability it offers us to meet estheticians from around the world. Estheticians who are remarkable, savvy, intelligent, kind, and generous. A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet and chat with two estheticians and through those conversations, we learned how they created nonprofits to help those who are sick and in need. 

We were blown away – here are their stories. 

Melissa Mercado – Holiday For Giving-Wallingford, INC

Melissa Mercado is part of  Holiday for Giving- Wallingford, INC a 501-c3 non-profit. In 2021 Melissa and three other individuals decided to take a town municipality-run program and create a 501c3 to be able to apply for various grants we were not previously eligible for.   

Holiday for Giving has been a local event in Melissa’s town since 1968. It began with providing a warm holiday meal for fifteen families through the town’s welfare system. Run solely by volunteers it has grown tremendously over the years and in 2023 it provided food and toys for 260 families including 822 people and 230 children up to nine years of age received multiple gifts their parents or caregivers were able to give to them.

“One of my favorite stories I hear often always begins with, ‘My family was a recipient of Holiday for Giving when I was a kid and now I volunteer because I know how much that helped my family when we needed it most’. The $10,000 that I won, will go for a storage unit so we can have toy or food collections throughout the year. It is very difficult to gauge what we need when we only have one month to collect, sort, and distribute all these items to 260 families. I am so excited to be able to plan even further ahead and to be able to give even more this coming year!” Mercado said.

Mercado lives in Wallingford CT with her husband and 3 children. She has been a licensed esthetician since 2002 and owns three businesses in her town. The Skin & Body Network is an advanced training facility where she has her own classes and brings in other educators from all over to educate CT estheticians. She has owned The Nail & Wax Room since 2017. And her newest venture, The Skin Bar, will be opening on April 8 and will be a skin care bar with an open concept as well as private treatment rooms and infrared saunas. Melissa is also the Lead Educator for Hale & Hush Skincare and also educates for various other brands such as Bombshell Wax, Thalgo, and Esthederm.  

Melissa won $10,000 in The Skin Games Compassionate Category. 

You can donate to Holiday For Giving Wallingford via PayPal.

Tiffany Underwood – Tiff Tiff’s Chemo Bags 

Tiffany Underwood was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia on June 8, 2022, she was just 38 years old, working full-time, and attending esthetics school full-time! Tiffany’s first round of chemotherapy was scheduled for July 11, 2022, in her hands for her first treatment was a bag of goodies from her mother-in-law that included hand cream, rinse for dry mouth, a blanket, socks, and anti-nausea drops. Tiffany said, “I used everything. The blanket, the socks, the Jolly Ranchers. Everything. There was no way I could have known what that bag would mean.”

Tiffany’s last treatment was on September 6, 2022, a few days after she graduated from esthetics school on August 2, 2022. Then just two weeks later Tiffany found out that her mother had stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Tiffany took the bag her mother-in-law had given her and took it to her mother. Tiffany’s husband John came up with the idea of giving bags out to other patients in treatment. Then on November 22, 2022, Tiff Tiff Chemo Bags became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tiff Tiff is a nickname given to Tiffany by her family and friends when she was a little girl. Tiffany is also the owner of SkinCo which opened on February 8, 2023.

Hale & Hush Donates To Tiff Tiff’s Chemo Bags

During a conversation with Tiffany, she told us that she reached out to Hale & Hush to inquire about buying 50 trial sizes of their Quiet Wash cleanser and their Hush Hydrate Gel moisturizer. Tiffany said, “Kris, called me back and said, I can give you three hundred of each, will that be enough? I was blown away, I couldn’t believe her generosity!” 

When she told me this – all I could say was, “That sounds like Kris Campbell to me.” Barry Eichner

Tiffany won 2nd place in the Compassionate Category and won a cash prize from Tiff Tiff’s Chemo Bags.  “Overall surreal weekend for me! If you would have told me two years ago, when I was in esthetics school, that I would be at The Skin Games and meeting the world shakers in our industry  and winning lots of money for Tiff Tiff’s Chemo Bags, I would not have believed them. You and Jenni are amazing to us and provide so much education and knowledge, thank you! I look up to you both.” Tiffany Underwood. 

Donations can be made to Tiff Tiff’s Chemo Bags via Venmo or PayPal.  
Venmo: TiffTiffs-ChemoBags 
PayPal: TiffTiffsChemoBags

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