This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Jennifer McCullough, Founder, Girls Like Us, Inc.
What inspired you to start giving?
I would have to say the pain from my past has played a huge part in my giving. I’ve always had a giving spirit but something birthed out of tremendous pain this past year. My husband and I experienced a failed adoption and I was still able to be with the mom in the hospital on her delivery day. She was a single mom, 3 kids and this would be her fourth. She ended up changing her mind the day of the delivery however I still felt compassion and love for this woman. I stayed and encouraged her, brought her toiletry items as she had nothing and was her support during her time in the hospital. Though this pain I brought it back to my ministry as a way to give back. So many women deliver their babies alone in the hospital. I want them to know they are loved and empower them to be strong Mothers. We have developed a “Lavish Bag” which has items that can help her during her stay at the hospital. The bag includes all the toiletries that she needs for her stay, gown/robe, fuzzy socks, brush, chapstick, push present for mom and a special gift for baby! There is also a resource card in her bag that will connect her with other organizations in her community that can help her along her journey!
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
I have been rescued to help rescue others. I grew up always taking care of my brother and doing for others. Our income was below the average family and my mom worked 3 jobs leaving me as the oldest to tend to the house and my brother. We were abused by our father until he went to prison when I was 12. We went into foster homes and by the time I was 18 I became pregnant I was a single mom for almost 6 years. Even though I didn’t have the dream childhood and I experienced some detours in my life I was always taught that there is always someone who has it worse than me! I’ve always had a compassion for single moms since I was one myself and wanted to find a way to help and give back in a way that would be impactful to her life. I am blessed to be a blessing to others. We can’t do everything but we can do something!
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
Do it, now! Don’t wait until you have it all figured out just start! Start with what you have and use the resources that are around you! Don’t underestimate the small! Big things come out of small beginnings.
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
One of my favorite giving moments was when we packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child! We opened our home, rented tables for our basement and invited everyone from our social media pages to bring items to pack for children that may not get anything for Christmas. My teenage daughter at the time invited her friends, our family and friends came and they brought friends. We separated, packed and prayed over those boxes that night so that those children would feel loved when they received them. We took a group picture and included it in the box. That night we packed over 120 boxes. It was an amazing night knowing that we would make an impact in a child’s life that we would never be able to meet!