Daily Point of Light # 2535 Oct 23, 2003

Marielle Woods prides herself in her volunteer work with the homeless. As a member of the National Coalition for the Homeless, a youth member of the Inter-religious Fellowship For The Homeless and the high school representative for the Bring Home America Act, she has been personally delivering packages bags of toiletries to homeless shelters throughout the regional areas as well as Boston, New Haven and Brooklyn, including Catholic Charities and shelters in Peru for years.

Her project, Hygiene Help for the Homeless, keeps her busy with amassing supplies, packaging, delivering and shipping, phone calls, paperwork and filing. Some of the items collected are toothbrushes and toothpaste to hair combs, shampoo, conditioner, cotton balls, mouthwash, hand cream, q-tips, soaps, shower caps and more. She believes she has benefited as much as the clients. She has learned to focus on other people and the real and immediate problems they endure because they are homeless.

This project has put her in touch with a side of life she has not known. She has found joy, though, in sitting and talking with people who are homeless. She realizes they are having a difficult time and need help. Marielle works to convince hotels, supermarket managers, doctors, pharmacists and others to give as much as they can. She contacts manufacturers and CEO’s for donations. She presents herself as a responsible advocate and gives information on her charity.

Marielle learned how to develop a charity from scratch. She has written letters, made appointments with business professionals. In addition, she has learned to present her organization in a professional way and how to interact well with others from various walks of life. In addition to working with Hygiene Help for the Homeless, Marielle is a board member of Table to Table, a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding the homeless. She was instrumental in securing a luxury cruise on Seabourn Lines that garnered Table to Table $12,000 at a recent auction.

Marielle also visits the New Jersey Veterans Home with rescue dogs she has adopted working with the New Jersey Scottish Terrier Rescue. She and her therapy dogs are registered volunteers and a welcome sight to the residents there. In addition, she is the band and music coordinator of Ridgewood Fourth of July Parade, and she coordinates an inter-school ongoing collection drive for New Eyes for the Needy. As a music coordinator, Marielle has a yearlong commitment. She has to contact the band, do mailings and paperwork and take care of parade placement. With regards to her work for New Eyes for the Needy, Marielle has seven schools and businesses involved. She designs and delivers boxes requesting glasses for the needy. Marielle believes she has been very fortunate in her life. She now passes on those blessings to others. Whether she is playing chess with some of the residents of homeless facilities or at businesses soliciting eyeglasses for those in need, she makes service a part of her everyday life.