Ronni Gaines visited the New Beginnings women’s residential treatment facility, with the goal of blessing others. The women there were recipients of items and products that most people take for granted, as well as the knowledge that they are loved, and others care for them.
Ronni donated 18 beautiful purses filled to the brim with hygiene items, toiletries, and dental products. This idea came to her one day as she was reading a women’s magazine and saw a lady who had donated over 6,000 purses to individuals in need. Ronni wanted to be the difference and started to ask those around her if they would be able to help gather items. She put her idea up on Facebook and was met with enthusiasm and generosity as support started to pour in.
“I want to thank Dr. Marissa Miller, DDS from Shelby who donated all the dental hygiene items. The Avon lady, Connie Roub, donated some purses. Thank you to Theresa Cronenwett at Kuttin Korner, Jeanine Friebel at Dream Huge Realty, Jodie Friebel Gumbert at K & S Bent N Dent and Kathy Couts who also donated items.” Ronni said gratefully.
Many individuals collaborated to get these items to New Beginnings including ladies at a garage sale who heard what Ronni was doing and donated boxes of toothbrushes. So many individuals stepped up when the need was presented.
“It all started with my niece, Ashley Gaines who passed away from her heroin addiction. She was so young at age 22,” Ronni shares. “She was living on the street even though she had a home to live in. It’s hard to think of people who are struggling that way. I just want to do what I can.”
Ronni continues to find healing in helping others and even practices self-care by doing what she can for those in need. She admits that she feels the best, both physically and emotionally, when she is able to do things for others.
Elaine Surber, Executive Vice President & Director of Substance Use Disorder Services, is Ronni’s life-long friend. The preciousness of Ronni’s gift was even more impactful to Elaine as her and Ronni were able to reconnect after Ronnie reached out via social media to ask how she could help New Beginnings.
“This is the second time Ronni made a donation.” Elaine explains. “The first time she brought in beautiful clothes that brought great joy.” Elaine saw the effect of Ronni’s generous spirit first-hand as resident’s faces lit up when the gorgeous, professional clothing was distributed.
Mandi Whitlatch, Supervisor of Substance Use Disorder Residential Services shared, “Many times, New Beginnings is an afterthought and people give leftovers or unwanted items. Donations that are meaningful and are actually clothes they would choose to wear are very impactful.”
Mandi stated that the women liked these clothes so much, they even shared some outfits and had certain days assigned to wear them. These women were so excited for the opportunity to have something nice and something they were proud of. The clothes, purses, and the hygiene items made many women very happy and they have Ronni Gaines to thank for that.