“Pictures say a thousand words.”
That long-time quote has never been more evident than today. We are called to stay at home with immediate family to remain safe and healthy. So, we have flocked to social media to gaze at pictures that have been posted by outside family and friends. Social media has connected us to the outer world and has kept us in tune with relationships.
Pictures document memories and now they are documenting helpful and enduring households.
Anthony Toups, a resident of Houma, has an expansive background in media and marketing, photography (wedding, events, family, etc.), videography, and making a change in the local community. So, he decided to get on the “porch” with “The Front Steps Project”.
“The Front Steps Project” originated in Needham, Massachusetts and was designed to share joy. It was also a way to give back to the locality.
Photographer, Cara Soulia, got the ingenious idea from her friend, Kristen Collins, to take pictures of residents on their front steps. In return for taking the historical pictures, families were asked to donate to Needham Community Council.
“The Front Steps Project” grew so quickly that Cara’s fellow photography friends, Topher Cox and Caitrin Dunphy, snapped into action.
Anthony Toups wanted to use his photography talent for the good of society. So, he removed his lens protector from his camera and joined “The Front Steps Project” initiative.
“The originator encourages other photographers locally or out-of-state to participate. She wanted to spread positivity. That made me realize that maybe I can do the same thing and take what Cara has already created and apply it locally. Initially, when I saw the idea from her, I thought it was a good way to utilize one’s talent,” Anthony said.
Anthony’s wife, Brie Robichaux, and mother-in-law, Shelley Robichaux, are the owners of the Dear Boutique in Downtown Thibodaux. His photography ventures started when he decided to invest in a camera and help with their social media marketing.
Since he is a part of a small business production, the backlash that COVID-19 had on the local economy had him pondering.
“This second part of me hits home, because it does mean a lot to me. My wife and her mom are local business owners. When the stay-at-home order took place it really affected our daily lives, because they could not stay open…it is personal. Whatever I could do to help, I thought this would be the perfect steppingstone into something possibly bigger.”
Not only is Anthony involved in the “Front Steps Project”, but he wants the enterprise to go above and beyond personal homes. He wants the program to reach the steps of local businesses.
Anthony Toups is also working with Thibodaux Main Street, INC., to receive permission to incorporate small downtown businesses into “The Front Steps Project”.
Even though, he is still awaiting consent from Thibodaux Main Street INC., he is on his main assignment of spotlighting the “front steps” of locals and their families. He is exposing smiling seclusion and focusing on festivity faces in the viewfinder.
“I want to give back to the community,” Anthony stated.
Anthony has set up a “Go Fund Me” account via his website. Residents who want to participate in the photography mission may donate any amount that is feasible to them. Once the donation has been acquired, Anthony will schedule a five-minute photo shoot from your “front steps” at a safe distance.
The money that is contributed is withdrawn weekly by Anthony. In turn, he donates $100 credits to local businesses in the Houma and Thibodaux area to help with rent, inventory, advertisement, and other needs. He is also asking businesses to organize giveaways if possible. Anthony wants residents to stay engaged and interacting with local businesses via social media.
“Some companies are closed, but you still have to post to stay relevant. That is my plan…,” Anthony added.
During times of crisis you will always spot supportive souls in the viewfinder of hope.
“I do this because it means a lot to me and hopefully, I can extend it and get more interested people that way it can grow. I am not doing this to make a profit. I want all this to go back into the community.”
You can contact Anthony Toups through Social media or his website:
The website contains a contact form and a donation link.