It would be irresponsible of us to say that we do what we do because we are better. Or even good.
It isn't even remotely close to that—it is, in fact, from the worst possible way for the worst possible reason that we have decided to finally lift our arms and move our legs in an attempt to help our immediate society, and that reason is that we have taken from the world with a deftness reserved for the strictly self-centered.
And so OATH: Over All There's Hope was created to bridge that profound and emotional abstraction to a pragmatic and tangible reality. It's our way of proclaiming that we've had enough, not of the world, but of ourselves and our passive tendencies. With this insight in mind, we have finally come to a place that lies beyond the guilt and entered into the belief that we must leave the world in a better state than we have found it.
Thus, 25% of all profits go to feeding, clothing, and beautifying the community around us. What we desire isn't to sell shirts; what we crave is to use our own hands to touch the world. A quarter wasn't an arbitrary percentage, but rather the product of constant debate until we decided that it was as much as we could give without certainly failing. Failure to uphold meant a failure to help in the way we envisioned. Our goal, however is to raise it to a third, and then eventually to half. We do not want to donate the 25% and walk away contentedly; rather, we want to invest in ourselves and personally do the work.
Finally, the vision we hold calls for us to catalyze a change. If we were to leave the world better than we have found it, we believe that it would incorporate the revelation that a needful community and a compassionate community are one and the same. They are not separated by economic, racial, or caste stigma; they are rather whole by way of solidarity.
Our small way of doing this—though it seemed minimal at first—is through our bags of hope. Every shirt or request comes with a brown paper bag that's to be filled with food, water, etc., and handed out to whoever may need it. We are, of course, not responsible and unable to regulate the contents of the bag, but we believe that the imagination of the compassionate will lead them to fill these bags with a resolution and a distance that we cannot achieve on our own. The bags invite the people themselves to join; all they have to do is respond. These bags also allow us to partner with other businesses who wish to make it an event to fill the bags and distribute them. It has been—and will always be—more than just a bag.