Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Glean: gathering bit by bit

We are surrounded by needs each day.

Women who need housing after escaping an abusive partner.  Hungry families desperate for a warm meal.  Abused teens in need of a positive influence.  Children pulled from their unsafe homes in the middle of the night.

Noelle Mills could not turn a blind eye to these needs.  She saw them, felt burdened by them and decided to do something.

Noelle is a married mom of two beautiful girls and manages Signatures Salon in Lake Charles.  She said one night the salon hosted a spa night for women living at the Potter's House, a local women's homeless shelter.

She said these women were to be set up with a full night of pampering, from free haircuts to facials and massages.  The problem for Noelle was that she was not a service provider...but really wanted to help.

So, she came up with the idea to organize a free "garage sale" so the women could shop around while they were at the spa night.  Noelle asked the Signature clients to donate purses, shoes, clothing, jewelry - really anything they could to these women.  The response was overwhelming.

That got the wheels turning even more for Noelle.

She recognized these items were excess items that most of these women would not miss, but items that would mean so much to the women receiving them.  Noelle wanted to take this idea to the next level, but knew that there were already tons of great non-profits.

That sparked the idea and creation of Glean.  The definition of Glean is to gather or collect bit by bit - and that is exactly what Noelle and her gleaners do.  They have collected items for Abraham's Tent, Oasis Women's Shelter, City of Refuge, Boys Village, Filling the Gap and many other local non-profits. 

This month marks the first time Glean has partnered 
with a government agency: 
the Department of Children & Family Services.

Noelle and I had the chance to chat about this project and how you can help.

What made you choose the Department of Children & Family Services?
*Partnering with the Department of Children & Family Services was a little different for us, because we have never supported a government organization. But after speaking with them and learning more about what they do, we knew it was a perfect fit. 

They informed me that many times, when a child is taken from an unstable environment, it is in the middle of the night and they are unable to immediately place the child in a foster home. This means the child has to go to their offices, and the government does not provide items to make these children comfortable overnight. 

That is where we will come in.

As a mom of two young children, tell me how seeing the needs of the children in state custody has impacted you.
*As a mom, the efforts this department makes are very admirable. It breaks my heart to think of the situations that lead the children into needing our efforts, but makes me that more passionate for providing any and every need they may have. No child should ever feel abandoned, abused or forgotten. If our little bit can help ease any of those emotions, then we did our job.

How can people pitch in?
*We are collecting bottles (preferably the ones with drop-in liners), blankets, and any items that would make a child feel comfortable overnight.  That could be items like coloring supplies or stuffed animals. 

They also asked if anyone has a gently used playpen that they are no longer using to consider donating it to them. It would provide a place to sleep for young children brought to their offices.

Where can people drop off their donations?
*We have seven sites across Southwest Louisiana.  In Lake Charles, they are Signatures Salon, Sale Street Baptist Church's warehouse, Christ Community Church and Robichaux, Mize, Wadsack and Richardson Law Firm.

In Moss Bluff, you can drop off at Crossroads Church.  Sulphur has a site at Shear Innovations Salon and in Westlake, go to the Church of God.

Donations will be taken through the entire month of May.

To learn more about Glean and stay up to date on each month's project, click here.

Way to go, Noelle!  You are a difference maker!


P.S. Noelle will be on Sunrise Wednesday morning at 6:40 for a live interview about this month's partnership with DCFS.  

1 comment:

  1. Britney, thank you for a truly remarkable story of such an inspirational woman. As a single mother of 3 fantastic little human beings I found myself emotionally invested while reading. May is about over so I would like to know what plans Glean has for June and July? Thanks again for showing us the heart of Lake Charles and the surrounding areas.