Over 28 years ago, pregnant and left with no choice but to escape from an abusive relationship, Holly Jackson found herself unhoused yet employed, and unable to qualify for assistance. Now 1-million-plus bags of essential items donated later, she’s turned her experience into a nationwide movement.

Holly founded Walls of Love, a nonprofit that began in November 2018 after Holly saw how many people were walking around in poverty-stricken areas of Cleveland, Ohio without proper clothing for the winter. “When you’re brave enough to finally leave a toxic situation, the last thing you want to hear is ‘Sorry we can’t help you.' I never want anyone to feel the way I did.” Holly purchased and collected hats, gloves, and other winter basics and hung them in Ziploc bags on walls outside the police department in Lorain, Ohio; the first Walls of Love in the country.

With a full-time job, Holly volunteered 30 hours a week for Walls of Love, and in over two and a half years, Walls of Love has built more than 2,389 walls with over 1 million bags donated in 2,300 neighborhoods. Walls of Love hang hundreds of bags on the walls of safe places like schools and police stations, and are for anyone who needs them, no paperwork, no questions asked. Walls of Love has been to 30 states and continues to provide necessities with no judgment attached. Unhoused individuals and anyone in need have access to personal and feminine hygiene products, warm weather clothing, nonperishable food, and other basics without fear of the homeless stigma. Holly’s goal is to be present in all 50 states by the end of 2024.