CLEVELAND — A northeast Ohio woman is helping others as a way of working through her own struggles.

What You Need To Know

  • Jodie Clark is the founder of Open Arms Outreach

  • She hosts a donation drive to help others going through tough times

  • Clark said giving back helps her cope with postpartum depression

Jodie Clark packed clothing into her UHaul. 

“Right now, we’re just trying to load up the truck, so that we can take the donations to the church so that they can be unloaded and set up for the event,” Clark said.

Clark is the founder of Open Arms Outreach. She partnered with The Lion Church in Cleveland to host a donation drive.

“This is actually the second year that this church has allowed us to use the facility,” Clark said.

At 22 years old, Clark said she wanted to find a hip way to host her drive. She created a shopping-style experience where volunteers box requested items for people in need. 

“We’ll be giving away clothes, shoes, [and] winter gear. We have coats, hats, gloves, scarves — all of that good stuff,” Clark said. “Then we’ll also have a hot meal. You’ll get soup, cocoa or water, and then you’ll also have non-perishable food to take home with you.”

Clark said she deals with postpartum depression, and created the event to help others who are struggling during the holidays, a season that’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of year.

“Around this time, I was going through a really rough time myself,” Clark said.

She added that giving back provides her a bit of joy and relief.

“As a person who’s going through certain things, and as a person who is still going through certain things, it’s just, it’s a very humbling experience,” Clark said.

Despite her personal struggles, Clark said that she hopes to be the person that never stops helping others get through hard times.