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Formerly Homeless Woman Turns Tough Past Into Life-Changing Charity

Formerly Homeless Woman Turns Tough Past Into Life-Changing Charity

(audience clapping) – And today we are saluting
the good people of Cleveland, and it’s a city made up
of so many good people, including Holly Jackson. Decades ago she fell into poverty, and found herself homeless. Now, after pulling herself
back up by her bootstraps, Texas reference, I like it, she’s making sure others in
poverty have the essentials they need in life without being judged. She’s what we call a good neighbor. (upbeat music) ♪ Good good so good ♪ ♪ Good neighbor ♪ Get it, Jessie! (laughs) All right, from Walls of Love, please welcome Holly, y’all. (audience clapping) So before we talk about Walls of Love, which is amazing, I was just telling you
in the commercial break, I think what you’re
doing is so magnificent. – Thank you. – Take us through how you
relate to these people, like, when you were struggling. – So a little over 28 years ago I was in a domestic violence situation, and I was pregnant with
my oldest daughter, and it was very volatile, and obviously it was not
a healthy place to be. So one day I just decided
that I had had it, I had had enough, and I left. I left everything behind that I had, and going to the homeless
shelter was very scary. You know you don’t really
have an identity there. You’re sharing toilets,
and you’re sharing things with people that you don’t even know. And to ask for help and humble yourself, and not be able to get it, it made you feel, or at least me, it made me feel awful. There’s a big misconception
that everyone that’s homeless is either a drug addict, or in jail, or just coming home from jail, or you’re irresponsible as a person and you didn’t pay your bills. So that’s why you’re there. And I try to explain to
people in living through that, that one of the big
misconceptions, is all of those. You know most people are
one or two paychecks away, or an illness such as cancer
or something like that, and not being able to go to work, and being homeless themselves. So I feel that it’s important
that, as human beings, we tend to be more understanding and more loving of people rather than judge them, because you never know what
somebody’s going through, or what happened in order for them to get in that situation. – There is a lot of struggle out there. There’s a lot of homelessness. And I also think a
misconception is, you had a job. – [Holly] I did. – Like, you had a job, it
wasn’t like you weren’t working. A lot of people think people
are just on the streets, like not doing anything. How were you able to turn things around? – So I was able to turn
things around eventually. It took a little while, but I continued to work my job, and I was eventually able
to save up enough money to get into an apartment near Akron U, which is a little bit
outside of Cleveland. And I continued to do that. I felt compelled to start volunteering, but I just felt like over the
years in doing all of that, that there was something missing. There was more that I wanted to do. And I said to myself, I
wish there this magic place. This magic wall that was up somewhere, where people could just go get
things without being judged, or stigmatized, or those kind of things. – You’re having a hard time. You need an opportunity to get a hand up. – Exactly. A hand up. That’s what I like to call
it rather than a hand out. So I am also lucky to have a job, where if you perform well you get bonuses. And I had got a bonus
at that point in time so I used my bonus, which was seven fifty, $750, and I went and bought
a whole bunch of things that I know that people need. So, you know, hygiene products– – [Kelly] And you would know
because you’ve been there. – Exactly. Hygiene products, and then
of course in Cleveland, warm weather gear, hats,
gloves, scarves, hand warmers those types of things. So then I started saying, okay, well where am I gonna put this? You know, it’s important for
me that wherever they are, that the walls are safe. They’re in a well lit area. They’re easily accessible,
those types of things. – This has blown up. – [Holly] It has and– – How many walls are there? – We’re working on number 300. We’re preparing for that. (audience clapping) – [Kelly] And they’re
called walls of love? – [Holly] Yes. – Could you see something like this working in y’all’s community? Like to where- – Yeah. – I just feel like NASCAR too. I’m telling you, those people are amazing. Everyone there’s amazing. Y’all could do a whole wall at an event. – So many ways to spin it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful
thing you’re doing. – Thank you so much. I’m so honored to be sitting next to you. I’m like one of your biggest fans. I’m so excited! – She’s keeping it together. She walked out here, and she was like, “I’m a fan of his.” And I was like, he’s a
pretty, he’s average driver. (laughing) – What my wife says. – He’s only won seven, it’s like whatever. – Well, I like to tell
people all the time, that with Walls of Love, it’s our goal to make this not only national, but global. – What an amazing thing of,
where you were struggling. In the first part of this interview, you were telling us what
you were struggling with, and now you’re going all over the place, and helping these people
that you have been in that same position, and educating the public on
what homelessness really is. And you could be one paycheck away. – Absolutely. – Just educating the public
on that is really key. So thank you so much. (audience clapping) Right now there are dozens of people at the Rock & Roll Hall
of Fame putting together bags for Walls of Love as they prepare to put up their 300th wall. Let’s head back to Jay from
WKYC studios in Cleveland. Jay, what’s the mood over there? – Well, obviously Kelly, after hearing Holly’s emotional story, the mood here is emotional, but it’s also very inspirational. When we come back to the
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, we’re gonna show you something
very special going on thanks to dozens of volunteers here. That’s moments away. – So Jay, how are things goin’ over there? – Kelly, it’s amazing. You really can feel the love here at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Dozens of volunteers from
the area are filling bags that will hang on the Walls of Love, and we have with us a volunteer who really is instrumental in
pulling all of this together. Her name is Tracy. Tracy, say hello to Kelly. – Hello Kelly, hi Holly. – Hey, what’s up Tracy! (laughing) – It’s a beautiful Cleveland day. – So Tracy, how many bags
do you guys hope to have by the end of today? – We’re actually hoping
to have 150 to 200 bags for today’s event, and it is, as everybody’s mentioned, super special because this is wall number 300 that we are putting up. So this is a big deal for us, and it’s made especially nice, because we’re with the
“Kelly Clarkson Show.” And Kelly, we love you here
in Cleveland, just FYI. – Oh my god, well thank
you have amazing taste. (laughing) – Kelly, two of the volunteers
are over 100 years old. Martha’s 107, and Mildred is 101. (audience clapping) They are incredible.
– Wow! (audience clapping) – Get it ladies! I’m just saying, if people over 100 can get there to help, so can you, whoever you are out there. Well Jay, take us through
the items in the bags. – All right, let me show
you what they’re putting in. It’s incredible, Kelly,
because these are all items that most of us just take for granted. They’re comfort items, but
they literally are a lifeline to so many people. Socks, it’s one of the
things that people most need. They go in the bag. There’s all kinds of toiletries. And things that, again,
we take for granted. Hand warmers. The Cleveland Indians
were kind enough to donate all kinds of scarves that
will also go in this bag. Items to help people keep people warm. As you know, it gets very
cold here in Cleveland, Ohio, and this is what the bag
looks like when it’s filled. It hangs on the wall,
and it fills so much need here in this community,
and as we’re learning, so many other communities. Not just here in the United States, but as Holly said, hopefully globally by the time we’re done. – That’s amazing. Well Jay, I hear there’s a volunteer there who actually benefited from Walls of Love. Is that Latrisha standing next to you? – Latrisha is standing right next to me. And I have to tell you, when Holly was telling her story, it was the cutest thing. Tears were just streaming down your face. It was a pretty thing to watch. Obviously you were moved by it. Say hi to Kelly. – Hi, Kelly. Holly, please bring some sun, sand back. (laughing) – All right, Latrisha, how did you benefit from Walls of Love? – My son and one of my
daughters have children, and they were in needs of hats and gloves for my grand babies. And of course they’re
going through a rough time. So of course, as being
nana I want to help out. But I was having a hard time finding them because they’re so small. Holly had a wall up in my neighborhood. And I happened to just be riding by, and I was gonna take a picture
just so I could post it and tag Walls of Love on social media. When I got out, I noticed that she had hats and gloves for my grandkids. I got so excited, I
got the gloves and hat, and forgot to take the picture. – Well Latrisha, you
guys are doing so great, I do not want to slow y’all down at all. Y’all keep at it. We are so proud of y’all. Y’all are doing so many amazing
things for people there. Jay, thank you so much
for helping us today. – Thank you. – Great story, great people. We love Cleveland.
– You bet. (audience clapping)
Bye, Kelly. – How cool is this story? – You know, if you can do anything, something just so simple, and change someone’s life for the better with some socks, or– – [Kelly] Hand warmers. – Hand warmers, toothbrush, toothpaste, things like that. You know, you don’t have
to have lots of money. And I don’t but I love what I do so much. I love attempting to change the world, one person at a time,
one community at a time. – You are changing the world. You’re not attempting, you are. – But we also do have the opportunity for people to submit
requests on the cities where they think would be a good place, or if they have ideas. Listen, even though I’ve done this a lot, almost 300 times, I still don’t have a corner on the market. So if somebody has better ideas, or some other things that they think, I take suggestions. And then we also do have the opportunity for people to donate and
we love you if you do that. We appreciate it. We want to be able to
continue to keep doing this. – Every little bit counts. – Absolutely.
– Every little bit counts. Even if you’ve only got five
dollars, five dollars helps. – Even one dollar. I’ll tell ya, I work magic with a dollar. (laughing) – I will make it rain with a dollar.

  • Touching. She speaks the truth. My siblings and I grew up in shelter homes. And I hated going to school and got made fun of so much. Ppl would degrade my single working mother. We are all humans. Our living status doesn’t define us. It is what we do with our past. We could let it mold us or break us. Love you Kelly. You bring so much attention to subjects that need more attention. Thank you for being a beautiful soul.

  • It's so good to help other's in need "" Beautiful Kelly. God Bless Holly "" πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸŒΉπŸŒΉ

  • Love and prayers. So true. I always say we don’t have a lot of money but have a lot of time. My 13 yr old daughter and I volunteer always. It’s truly addicting. We have approximately 200 hrs and 500 hours each. Since she was little and the feeling you get from giving back is soo rewarding and priceless and she and I have learned how to coupon and budget and raise pennies to purchase items. Please continue to do what you do. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

  • I love Kelly’s show on this alone , this is something that Wendy would do on her show. 🍡?

  • Inspirational She turned her adversities to her own advantage. πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“

  • Such a great way to celebrate an amazing milestone for Walls of Love. You have left your footprint in the world Holly, I know that footprint will be a stepping stone for so many more. Love you Holly your passion is resounding. Latrice your smile is infectious! Congratulations!

  • Kelly, You are opening the gates of heaven 9n earth. This has opened my eyes and others, too. Greatest respect and blessings from India, Kerala. πŸ«πŸ™‚πŸ΅πŸŒΎπŸ«Kelly you are an angel. We can save humanity.

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