In 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.