Angel of the Month
Each month, The Angelrock Project features an Angel of the Month, interviews of inspirational people involved in grassroots volunteer efforts and exceptional humanitarian endeavors. We hope that by reading their stories, you will be moved, inspired, and grateful for their tremendous efforts.
Denese Hall is Founder of Clothed With Love, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization which aims to help those going through difficult circumstances based on local need. While also working a full-time job, Denise gives back to her community by organizing clothing, school supplies, books, and toy drives. By engaging her entire family and a host of volunteers, Denise is able to make a significant difference in her community without the resources and infrastructure of a large non-profit organization. Living by the motto "Mission Possible," Denise is proof positive that everyone has within them the capacity to give and make a difference in this world.
Q. Please tell us about Clothed With Love. What is the mission of the organization and what are the exact services?
A. Our mission is to create lasting positive changes in people's lives by tackling issues based on local needs. Common focus areas include helping children and youth succeed, health care awareness for seniors, promoting self-sufficiency, strengthening families and inspiring people to make a difference in their community. We provide brand new clothing, books, toys and other items to women, children, seniors and families experiencing hardship. In addition, educational workshops, health fairs and special events are held to support our mission. We also provide emergency relief to families and individuals in the event of a natural disaster.
Q. Why and when did you start Clothed With Love?
A. My husband and I birthed this organization out of our passion for the hurting and those experiencing devastation and hardship. Experiencing hardship ourselves, we found it easy to relate to so many people that are going through challenges. In May, 2001 Clothed With Love, Inc. was born.
Q. You also work a full-time job. How do you manage your time to work, raise a family and run a non-profit organization?
A. I am blessed to have the support of my family and a great team of volunteers who share our passion. I believe that God gives us the tools we need to complete our daily tasks. Each day I start out by asking God for the strength to complete the tasks and meet the deadlines I have for that day.
Q. When did your organization become a 501(c)3 organization?
A. We received our 501(c) 3 status in August, 2001.
Q. How did your experiences as a mother influence you to start this organization?
A. Married with four children that are a few years apart, I know the challenges that families face. In the early years, we faced many hardships. But I am thankful because it made us stronger and looking back in retrospect, we were able to do more with less.
Q. How many families have you helped in the past and what are your goals for the future?
A. This year alone, we have helped over 2,000 families (we would like to double that number in 2009). Future endeavors include an International Book Club for children, building an orphanage/nursery school in Africa and hopefully in a few years be able to purchase our own recreational facility.
Q. How do you acquire the funding for the organization and the merchandise that you donate to those who need it?
A. Funding is acquired through many outlets: grants, donations and much of our own finances. We receive in-kind donations from various companies in the form of clothes, shoes, books, toys and many other items. Most of our projects are self-funded as we await decisions on grants we have applied for. This year we will host a benefit dinner to help raise funds for two major projects scheduled in 2009.
Q. How can the people reading this interview help support Clothed With Love?
A. You may write to us and share your ideas, suggestions, or send us your donations. We welcome volunteers who would like to get involved with our organization.
Q. What are the major obstacles with running Clothed With Love?
A. Limited funding, lack of office and storage space to house our merchandise, and not being able to dedicate more time to the business. Given the current environment, the needs for our services will increase.
Q. What part of running Clothed With Love brings you the most joy?
A. The smiles on the faces of the many people we have helped and the "thank you" letters we receive make it all worthwhile.
Q. How do you involve your friends and families in the activities of the organization?
A. We hold monthly meetings and calls to keep our friends and family up to date with projects and timelines, this also gives them an opportunity to give feedback on previous projects and make suggestions. They are champions when it comes to giving back to the community. They give of their time, love and passion to help support our endeavors.
Q. Have you seen a change in the people who volunteer with you? If so, what have the changes been?
A. It's amazing to see the transformation. The people that come back each year to volunteer are more excited about the opportunity to serve and they look forward to sharing new ideas with our organization.
Q. How do people find out about your organization?
A. They can visit our website at www.clothedwithlove.org or they can write to us and ask to be added to our mailing list for future events and quarterly newsletters.
Q. Do you have any advice for those seeking to start local charitable organizations?
A. Research is very important. Know your audience. Determine the needs in your area. Networking events can also be very beneficial. Lastly, just do it! Someone is in need of the services you have to offer. Know what you are passionate about and put legs to your dreams!
Q. What is your favorite book?
A. The Holy Bible for inspiration and spiritual growth. Also, "Up from Slavery" an autobiography of Booker T. Washington.
Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. Doing a good service is like throwing a rock in a pond, the ripples just go on and on - Mark Doyle
Q. Who is your mentor?
A. My parents who by example taught me compassion for those who are hurting.
Q. What is your motto?
A. Mission Possible!
Q. Do you have a lasting thought that you would like to share?
A. The wealthiest place on the planet is the cemetery. Many best selling authors, singers, actors & actresses, artists, philanthropists, etc., died full of potential and possibilities. Don't leave this world without making a contribution to human kind. Share your gifts and talents with others -- don't take them with you.
For more information on Clothed With Love, please visit their website at www.clothedwithlove.org.
For information on how you can make an in-kind donation, please email email@example.com or call 718-919-2438, option 2
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