As the winter months are upon us, some of us can relate to the blistering cold weather and the overwhelming snow that follows. Unfortunately, we are all not fortunate enough to have the basic necessities to keep warm. Ericka Woods has made it her priority to help people by collaborating with others in the community as well as creating her own organization to meet a need that is personal to her.
Ericka Woods is a 38-year-old mother of two (a 19-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter) who works nights at her full-time job in Logistics in her hometown of Detroit, MI. Alongside her full-time job, Woods helps her community by collecting socks for the homeless as apart of the ‘Socktober’ initiative, as well as creating her own Facebook mothers support group.
To help the homeless combat the brutal winters in Detroit, Woods has started her own “Socktober” initiative in her own community and has run it for the past three years. The Detroit native started her campaign by collecting socks at the beginning of October, until the end of the month. After that, Woods distributes the socks to different shelters, children’s organizations, and people in her city.
“I’ll choose one place to pass them out and I’ll collect and pass out socks to people and different shelters in the city; as well as the Vista Maria girls’ home,” Woods said.
While helping those in her community, Woods had her own issues at home dealing with her son. She searched online for a group that could help her out but could not find anything that was suitable for her, so she created her own Facebook group that would, later on, transform into her own non-profit.
Woods started her non-profit 1Mother2Another.org “to motivate, educate, and empower women from all walks of life.” Her organization started on Facebook by adding her friends from her personal page and then other people began to add friends from their pages. Her group has now grown to 3,000 members which include moms nationally and internationally.
After receiving their 5013c status in 2018, Woods is now looking forward to finding a permanent building where women can come and grab items that they need. As Woods continues to juggle all of the different tasks that she tackles daily, there is no doubt that wearing so many hats can be exhausting. For motivation, Woods leans on her children to help get her through the hard times.
“When I did this, I didn’t do this for accolades. I want my children to be able to look to me for inspiration” Woods said.
Since starting 1Mother2Another, Woods has had to step up to the learning curve when it comes to learning about running a non-profit as well as getting people to volunteer and donate items. “It’s hard to find people who are consistent and want to do things for free.
“I have people in the group who help me with postings on the Facebook group” Woods said.
There was a lot of leg work that was done in the beginning by Woods, one of which was driving around the city to pick up items for donating, a tedious task that she doesn’t do anymore, and a task she wished that she would have received help with in the beginning.
“Don’t give up. Starting a non-profit it can be hard; seek out other people who have non-profits, free classes, and do your research because you can and will get frustrated” Woods said.
One of the biggest rewards of owning her own non-profit is being able to truly live out her passion by helping people. Being emotional and silly helps her when it comes to interacting with some of the people on the streets with mental illnesses.
“Yes, the emotional part, I’m such a crybaby and the silly part, because interacting with some of the people out here with mental illnesses can be tough at times, I try to have a positive and a happy moment,” Woods said.
Woods has also added another project under her belt called the ‘Lunch on Me challenge’. This challenge is where she posts a flyer on her personal and group Facebook pages asking people to leave their Cash app names and the first ones to comment their name gets their lunch paid for by Woods. Her gesture has caused such a positive reaction among those who follow her and has encouraged some to pay for others who leave their Cash app names as well.
What started out as a plea for help with her own personal issues and feeding her own passion has now led to Woods being the CEO of her own non-profit. While the journey was not easy for Woods, she pushed herself, accepted the help of others and used social media to make an impact within her community.
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