“It’s a community effort,” says Alice Zaccarello, Executive Director of the Well Community, of the Resource Center available to the Well’s members. “We are able to have full shelves of clothing, bedding, hygiene items, cleaning supplies and healthy snack foods because of the support from individuals, businesses, civic groups and churches in the area.”
The Well has passed along these kinds of items to its members over the years, but in in the spring of 2021 they were able to launch a dedicated Resource Center. In July 2022 AmeriCorps Vista provided one person to staff the center. Aaliyah Marshall organizes donations, prepares requested items for members and passes on to other agencies items Well members don’t need.
“Donations come from all over the community,” Aaliyah says, “and from all walks of life.” She has even received donations from Well members when they have had items they can’t use. “Many times, the clothes we receive are brand-new! Some still have the sales tags on them,” she exclaims. The Resource Center also keeps a supply of sleeping bags and blankets, as well as jackets and coats for cold weather.
“Because of the continuous generosity of our neighbors, it is rare that we have to dip into our budget to buy the kinds of things housed in our Resource Center,” Alice explains. Examples of this outpouring are numerous:
- The Kessler School, with Cliff Temple Baptist Church, held a socks drive and collected seven bins of brand-news socks of different sizes and colors.
- During the pandemic, Reid Barnhart and others made masks for all our members.
- Patti Tallack Caperton (a former Well intern from UTA) and her family knitted 100 hats so our members could have a warm Christmas season.
- When Baylor nurses come to volunteer, they often bring pantry items or hygiene and cleaning supplies.
- A group representing the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and the Texas Indo-American Physicians Society, Texas State Chapter has twice given out lovely and warm blankets to every member and left extras for the Resource Center.
- Donors shop our Amazon Wish List regularly, so boxes arrive at the Well year-round, and especially during our Christmas backpack-filling drive.
According to Aaliyah, “The most sought-after items are those needed for grooming and personal care. Nearly every day someone requests a new toothbrush or toilet paper.” On Wednesdays members can pick up requested clothing items. “Clothing is always in demand. Since many do not have access to laundry facilities, some regularly pick up items to change into and then discard the tattered clothing they have been wearing for an extended time,” she explains.
When asked what has been most meaningful to her as she has interacted with Well members, Aaliyah replies, “I’ve learned from the members to not take life as seriously as I do. They have taught me to be more kind as I see how kind they are to the staff and other members. Despite their living conditions or what they are going through, often they still have a smile on their face and laugh and play and joke. That’s been inspiring to me. I’m glad to have the opportunity to help here. It is great experience in serving others.”
Would you or your group like to help resource the Resource Center? Check out our Amazon Wish List or contact us at 214-393-5878, ext. 603.