In the world of the beatles, all we need is love. Of course, in actuality we also could use some toothpaste—and with a little help from Walls of Love, Houstonians in need can have both.
Founded in Cleveland by Holly Jackson, Walls of Love has been assisting homeless communities around the country by filling plastic bags with basic necessities, including toothpaste, soap, socks, and non-perishable foods, and then hanging those bags on walls in various cities. According to the organization’s website, Walls of Love has helped almost 100,000 individuals so far. On August 13 it helped those in the Bayou City with a wall at 901 Bagby St.
While Houston is actively working to reduce its homeless population, there are still 3,974 people experiencing homelessness in the Houston region at any given moment, according to the Coalition or the Homeless’s most recent count. “A lot of homeless people don’t approach people because of the stigma, for fear of being judged,” says Jackson, who herself experienced homelessness after escaping an abusive relationship while pregnant. “One of the really big misconceptions is that everyone who is homeless is irresponsible."
The idea behind each wall of love is simple: Take what you need, leave the rest for others, and pay it forward when you can, in whatever way you can. Jackson estimates she put up 850 bags while in Houston. They were gone within an hour, she says.
After the success of the first Houston wall, Jackson wants to set up a second one in the Bayou City. At the moment, she’s looking for organizations willing to let their fences be used as the next wall as well as businesses interested in sponsoring it. In the meantime Houstonians can make monetary contributions and also donate items (all of the proceeds and donations go toward funding future walls, according to the organization’s website). “We’re taught that walls separate people and keep people out,” Jackson says. “My particular walls are meant to engage people and bring them in.”
More info at wallsoflove.com.