West Fargo woman creates organization to help homeless kidsWEST FARGO – It all started with a coloring crayon. About of a year ago, Susan Baron of West Fargo decided to start collecting the crayons that were thrown away after each table was cleared at Denny’s in Fargo, where she works.
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM
WEST FARGO – It all started with a coloring crayon.
About of a year ago, Susan Baron of West Fargo decided to start collecting the crayons that were thrown away after each table was cleared at Denny’s in Fargo, where she works. Instead, she wanted to give them to area homeless children. By the end of May, she had collected more than 1,000 crayons, Baron said.
But she didn’t stop there. In addition to giving coloring books to go along with the crayons, Baron started collecting donations of all kinds.
She’s gone door to door to area businesses asking for help; she’s stopped at rummage sales to ask that unsold items be donated and she started collecting items for donation at her home.
Baron, who says she’s the “biggest Golden Girls fan ever,” calls her efforts “The Golden Drive for the Golden Children.”
She’s made up business cards, T-shirts and created a Facebook page to promote her organization.
She started bringing her donations to the YWCA of Cass Clay and now takes them wherever they’re needed, she said.
Along the way, Baron has heard heart-breaking stories of children without a place to live.
“I have cried more tears in a year than I have in my whole life,” she said.
But she’s also heard inspiring stories about people in the community helping each other. One that really touched her was about a woman who was homeless six months ago and now spends her time helping others, Baron said.
“A lot of people have blinders,” Baron said. “I believe the only true happiness in this world is not money or material things; it’s to help others because you can. We have so many homeless children.”
She has also been impressed by the businesses and big box retailers that have contributed to her cause.
Baron, who does in-home care for people with disabilities in addition to working at Denny’s, has poured her soul into her organization, she said.
At any given time, Baron could walk outside her back door and find boxes of donations piled up, she said.
She talks and even sings about The Golden Drive to anyone who will listen, she said. There’s a video on YouTube of her singing about her organization.
“I’ve found my passion, my dream. I’m putting my whole life into this,” she said. “My whole mission is to help whomever – mainly children.”
To thank her for her efforts, some of the children at the YWCA made her a thank-you card out of construction paper with their hand prints on it.
“I didn’t make it out the front door before I started crying,” Baron said.
She was also nominated for a 2012 YWCA Women of the Year Award, said Erin Prochnow, YWCA Cass Clay executive director.
“Susan Baron is a shining example of how a person with a big heart and a willingness to help can persevere,” Prochnow said. “She is giving, dedicated and passionate about being helpful.”
When Baron started, she reached out to the YWCA to ask what kinds of items women and children need when seeking the services of the YWCA Cass Clay Emergency Shelter and Housing Programs, Prochnow said. She also took the time to learn about the organization.
“It is clear to us Susan cares about helping others,” Prochnow said. “The joy in her face shows each time she unloads the back end of her pick-up truck.”
Prochnow said she encourages others to take Baron’s lead by reaching out and asking what is needed and then taking action.
“It has nothing to do with me. It’s about the children,” Baron said. “These are our kids to help.”