By Andrea Alvarez

PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – March is Women’s History Month and CW44 News is highlighting a local entrepreneur working to eliminate those struggling during their fight with homelessness. Approximately 11,000 people face unsheltered homelessness in Florida but she’s working change that with fabric.

“When I think of Women’s History Month, I think of all of the women in the past that have se examples for me and forged the way,” said Maria Aller, Founder of ShaperShifter Fish and Friends. A passion for persevering, the St. Petersburg business-owner stumbled upon perhaps her most rewarding idea ever back in 2020.

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“It was a happy accident. We wanted to come up with something that would create some unity in the world,” she said.

So, she and her partner Andrew got to work. Creating a local multi-functional sun protective wear company featuring Florida’s marine life. But they didn’t stop there.

“We were looking into how we could give back to the community,” she said. Then fate took it’s course.

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“We had a gentleman that lived on our street in a wheelchair and he disappeared for like six months. He ended up showing back up and we were like, ‘where have you been’? He’s like, ‘I have skin cancer’. You put two and two together and somebody that is living outside in this crazy Florida sun obviously has a huge risk,” seeing a high risk for dehydration, heat stroke, and skin cancer, they stepped in.

“So, we’re like, ‘oh my gosh, we have a sun-protective wear company. This is where we’re going to give back to the community,” said Aller.

A portion of the proceeds from each shirt now goes toward Project Fin providing sun protective clothing to the homeless community along with an indirect message.

“Encouraging young girls to get outside. Like fishing, that’s something that isn’t necessarily considered a women’s sport,” explained Aller. “I mean anything that is out there is possible for both men and women.”

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Click here to donate to Project Fin. You can also email them at info@ssfishandfriends.com