Scouts at Jane Cizik Garden Place

scouts

On Saturday July 25, 2015, our supportive housing facility Jane Cizik Garden Place’s (JCGP) food pantries benefitted from of months of hard work by dedicated Boy Scout, Michael Sobin. In order to earn his Eagle Scout status, Michael needed to develop and execute a service project that exemplified the skills he has honed in his years as a scout. While researching potential ideas, Michael was connected to The Women’s Home’s former Community Involvement ManagerChau Nguyenby Sobin family friend and The Home’s board member, Julie Mahler. Through Chau, Michael learned that JCGP emergency food pantry, which provides residents in need with nonperishable food items, was urgently in need of restocking and found the basis for his Eagle Scout project.

Michael’s project provided 10 new wire shelving units for the first floor pantry, and five new shelving units each for the second and third floor pantries. He stocked each of these pantries with food items he began collecting through a school food drive in April. Michael’s outspokenness about his project and the impact it would have on the lives of our residents at JCGP, helped him raise roughly $1,300 from family members as well as members of his family’s temple, Congregation Jewish Community North in Spring Texas. Michael also gained an additional $50 in products when purchasing items at a local Dollar Tree after explaining his work to the branch manager.

With the help of fellow scouts he recruited for the cause, Michael brought his project to fruition on Saturday as the group came in to set up the shelving units and loaded them to the brim with the collected food items. His hard work will have months of positive impact on the residents at Jane Cizik Garden place, where having our pantry well stocked can make the difference between struggling between bills and groceries for that month. Michael “found the most rewarding part of this project was looking at the finished pantries. It was months of planning coming together. It was nice to see that before we even left that day someone had come for items to help them out.”

Girls on the Run Support our Residents

Girls on the Run Group

Some of the Women’s Home’s pint sized friends recently paid a warm and friendly visit to our residents at Jane Cizik Garden Place, our spring branch supportive housing community.

Dozens of girls ranging from the third to fifth grades from the nearby Treasure Forest Elementary School, delivered hygiene care packages after school one sunny afternoon day. It was a happy visit, and one that came after weeks of hard work and fundraising. The students are part of the Girls on the Run program, an after school program for girls ages 8 to 13. Their goal is to complete a 5k at the end of their school year. But part of the fun for these girls involves giving back. So the girls chose Jane Cizik Garden Place as their community outreach project.

Their effort began in early Spring, when the girls sold lemonade at the school. Their hard work paid off, earning more than 200 dollars. Then came deciding how to use the funds. After meeting with our staff, the group collectively decided to make dental hygiene kits, including toothbrushes, floss and toothpastes for the residents of all 84 of our units.

The girls were received by hugs and gratitude, with a handful of our residents in attendance for these donations. Our staff later distributed the rest of the kits to Jane Cizik residents. The girls shared the valuable lessons they learned like teamwork, charity and how they too can shape the communities around them.

We thank you Girls on the Run, and we look forward to many more neighborly visits ahead!

Brownie Scout Troop 24053 visits The Cottage Shop

Brownies Outside 1

The Brownie Scouts outside The Cottage Shop

Getting an early start in giving back to the wider community is an important opportunity for growing girls and recently The Cottage Shop was able to give that experience to Brownie Scout Troop 24053. The troop, led by Desire Witherspoon a 2010 graduate of our treatment program and Troop 24053’s leader, spent the day volunteering to earn the Philanthropist badges. Desire, who lives in our supportive housing apartment complex, Jane Cizik Garden Place and works as one of the select staff members of Alcoholics Anonymous, immediately thought of The Home after explaining the meaning of philanthropy to her scouts. “I defined philanthropy to them as the practice of giving your time, talent, or treasure for benefit of the common good.” She contacted our Shop Manager, Cheri Barton, to schedule a volunteer and tour time for her daughter’s troop.

The Brownie Scouts toured our facilities at 811 Westheimer, where Desire’s photo proudly hangs among our graduate pictures. They assisted other volunteers in sorting and hanging clothing, their own donations among the items. “I asked each girl to bring a small donation and they got to witness the transition from an item being dropped off to being processed in to being put on the floor for retail. Cheri was extremely patient and very informative.” Desire said.

The girls were curious to learn the ins and outs of The Cottage Shop as well as The Home. “Those litter girls were full of questions. They wanted to start volunteering now!” Cheri said.

Thank you to Desire for introducing Brownie Scout Troop 24053 to The Women’s Home and reminding us that giving back has no age limit!

Urban Leasing & Realty Food Drive Stocks Pantry

ULRIn the fall of 2015, our friends at Urban Leasing & Realty (ULR) stepped up in a BIG way. The community food pantry at Jane Cizik Garden Place (JCGP) – The Women’s Home’s permanent supportive apartment complex in Spring Branch – was running very low on food and toiletries in October. Realizing the great need we were facing, especially with the Holiday season approaching, Jessica St. John, Owner/Broker at Urban Leasing & Realty and an active supporter of The Home, suggested a food drive to her fellow agents. As expected, they wholeheartedly embraced the idea.

“Hearing that the pantry was nearly empty really hit me hard,” said Jessica. “I knew something had to be done and even though I have never organized a food drive, I really wanted to spearhead a collection effort.”

In late October / early November, Jessica designed reusable bags and flyers – to not only provide receptacles for collection, but also to raise awareness for The Home. ULR agents went door-to-door in the Cherryhurst, Park Civic, and Vermont Commons neighborhoods, dropping off the donation bags and passing on information about The Women’s Home. Residents were asked to place any donated items in the bag on their porch, to be picked up by volunteers the morning of November 11. Some wonderful area businesses offered to be community “drop-off” points as well, helping to increase collections in the food drive.

“My personal goal was 500 items,” Jessica stated. “In the end, there were cans and bags piled high in our office. I was so excited that I counted every item, already thinking about how we could make next year’s collection even better.”

And what was the final tally? A whopping 1,437 canned goods and non-perishables were donated! From canned soups and vegetables to paper towels and toilet paper, ULR, together with a deeply generous community, was able to bring an almost empty pantry to full capacity. To say we are grateful for their efforts would be a huge understatement. This drive allowed the residents at JCGP to have the “fall back” supplies they often need. It’s one less thing to worry about and one pantry full of reasons to move forward and believe that together, anything is possible.

“We are still so amazed at the support from the community and the incredible generosity of everyone involved,” said Jessica. “For every bag that was dropped off at our office, and every can that was picked up, the entire ULR team became even more energized. But nothing prepared us for the feeling of walking into a nearly empty pantry, then personally stocking the shelves until they were full. It warmed our hearts more than words can describe.”

In addition to all of the area homeowners and tenants that donated during the drive, Urban Leasing & Realty and The Women’s Home would like to send a huge thank you out to some of the individuals and businesses that helped to make the food drive such a big success, including: THRiVE, Aqua Hand Car Wash & Detail, Mark Rafail, James Ward, Macaron by Patisse, Inventure Design, Southern Star Inspections, LLC, and Marie Flanigan Interiors. Big thanks also to The Home’s Bethany Fields for all of her support and for the tour of the JCGP facilities.

“What most people don’t stop to think about is that a home is much more than just brick and mortar,” Jessica stated. “As a Realtor helping people find homes every day, I understand that home is a place you go to feel comfortable and secure. The Women’s Home does such an incredible job of helping those without a home find that security and comfort through their programs. We just feel blessed to have been able to lend a hand.”

From everyone at The Women’s Home, we appreciate the efforts of all involved in coordinating and donating to the ULR food drive. For 60 years, the generosity of this community has allowed us to provide the programs, services, and housing that help women in crisis get the help they so desperately need. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities for your group or company, please contact our Development Manager Debra Richmond at 713-328-1950 or drichmond@thewomenshome.org.