KOLD HEROES: Tucson woman's giving anything but basic - Tucson News Now

KOLD HEROES: Tucson woman's giving anything but basic

Valerie Graham. (Source: Family) Valerie Graham. (Source: Family)
Some of the items Valerie Graham has donated to homeless women in the Tucson area. (Source: Family) Some of the items Valerie Graham has donated to homeless women in the Tucson area. (Source: Family)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As everyone contemplates their New Year's resolutions, Valerie Graham is watching hers come to fruition.

For the last year, Valerie has made it her mission to help homeless women get back on their feet by giving them the basics -- blankets, clothing, hygiene products, even purses.

"My mom is amazing," said Valerie's daughter Alliyah.

Valerie has made a difference by bringing to light a problem that, for the most part, remains hidden in few shelters we know about.

Alliyah's seen if first-hand.

"There are barely any beds," she said. "They sleep on floors in this one-story house. It's like a single-bedroom thing. They are everywhere. They sleep anywhere because they need a home."

A lot of people see the homeless men, but there are a ton of homeless women and there are shelters dedicated to homeless women.

Valerie said many of those homeless women either don't know about the shelters or are too proud to ask for help.

Jennifer is a military Veteran and mother to two boys.

"It hurts me as a mother not to be able to give them what they want," Jennifer said.

Jennifer was on the streets, living in a dumpster with her two boys, when she asked for help from Project Action for Veterans. That's when Valerie and the donations came in.

Jennifer got her basic necessities, and clothes for a job interview and even a home.

"I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for them," she said. "I am so grateful for everything that she has done."

Humble as heroes typically are, Valerie said she simply started by asking friends to collect purses and clothes. She also gives much of the credit to those friends.

"I feel like I am helping women in the community," Valerie said.

Today she was was able to see it, just how big of an impact her New Year's resolution has had.

That proof came recently, by way of Santa Claus. Two young boys faces and a mother who will never forget this moment.

"It has been six years since I have been able to give my boys a decent Christmas," Jennifer said. "To see their smiling faces today with everything that has happened. It is the best feeling in the world.

Even a hero needs a hero sometimes, and that's what Valerie Graham is doing.

More than few people reached out to us to nominate Valerie.

Here's what they had to say:

Valerie is my hero. But it is not just what she does for me that make her my hero. It is for the countless things she does for others in our community. Val started asking her friends for donations in January 2016.

She wanted to bring purses, snacks and hygiene items to community women's shelters. From there she was determined to make this a monthly endeavor.

The first of every month for the last 11 months she has delivered her donations to the Sister Jose Women's Center and other charities in our community.

Her compassion is contagious. She has inspired many friends to donate every month. She has delivered hundreds of items to help women in our community.

She is a true hero and she should be recognized. -- Elizabeth Kamp.

Valerie made a New Year's resolution at the beginning of this year to donate 10 purses stuffed with toiletry items, make-up, snacks, etc. for the homeless women at the Sister Jose Women's Center.

Purses can play a key role in a woman’s life; storing anything, from keys and wallets, to baby bottles and even our fondest memories.

Her idea was that every woman deserves to own a purse.

Valerie has successfully used her network of friends, family and co-workers to make this possible.

Every month of 2016, she has selflessly delivered the 'stuffed' purses to the shelter and put a smile on these ladies faces who otherwise sometimes have very little to smile about. -- No name.

Valerie is an amazing friend and does everything she can to help those less fortunate.

Her effort to help women at the Sister Jose Women's Center by collecting used purses and filling them with items to give to the women is one action that shows how big Valerie's heart is.

She is a one of a kind and deserves to be recognized for her selfless acts of kindness. -- Lisa Kirchhofer.

Not only is Valerie Graham my hero, she is also my mother.

My mother is dedicated in all the work she does, she will not leave until the job is finished.

For the past year Mrs. Graham has been collecting purses and other related hygiene products each month for the Sister Jose Women's Center.

She collects 10-20 purses every month and these women thank my mom every month for her kind donations.

Valerie Graham should be nominated for her hard work and sympathy. I love my mom. -- Alliyah Graham.

Valerie has made it her personal mission to collect purses and fill them with toiletry articles all year.

She has enlisted her large group of friends to save all of their hotel-sized personal hygiene items and gathers them up and fills purses that she has also collected to donate to the Sister Jose Women's Center.

Valerie decided that in 2016 her New Year's resolution was not going to be weight loss, or giving up chocolate. She instead decided to make that resolution one that helps her community. -- Lynn Gover.

Valerie collects different items monthly for Sister Jose Women's Center.

She collects clothing, blankets and lots of toiletries. She stuffs purses and cosmetic bags with the toiletries so each women can have their own.

In addition to this she volunteers for Susan G. Komen and donates blood at the Red Cross. Not to mention the school activities she is involved in with her children. -- Sherry Ankomeus.

I would like to nominate Valerie Graham for the local HERO award as her huge loving heart truly deserves it.

Every month Valerie collects and donates purses to local women's shelters.

Within these bags are items ranging from feminine hygiene products, non-perishable snacks, lip gloss, lotions, etc.

These purses are to help keep the ladies organized and structured in their pursuit to better themselves, boost their self esteem and offer them a sense of pride and confidence that comes with owning a nice, clean and well-kept purse.

Valerie makes it a goal to collect at minimum 10 bags per month but of course more is always welcome.

For this reason, I feel Valerie is a excellent candidate for this award. -- Kayla Palmer .

Val is my mom's friend and is the most thoughtful and giving person.

She is always thinking of us and giving us little things that are so meaningful.

She always buys my mom cute Kleenex packs that have funny sayings on them for my mom to use during allergy season.

It is what Val does to support local women in need in our community that makes her a hero.

She spearheaded a campaign to collect donations to give to women's shelters in Tucson and continues this donation drive every month.

Her goal was to donate 10 purses every month this year. Not only has she done this but also raised hundreds of donations of hygiene products and snacks for this charity.

She is a strong women, caring friend and wonder mother.

It is her caring for others around her that makes her a hero. -- Emily Kamp.

I have been friends with Valerie Graham for over 15 years, and couldn't think of a more deserving hero.

Valerie is a devoted mother to three children and has been an active and selfless member of the community for years.

Whenever there is need for a volunteer -- food drive at school, local blood donation or breast cancer awareness, Valerie could be counted on.

In January, Valerie's resolution was to gather much-needed items for the homeless women in Tucson.

She sent emails out to her friends and asked for donations -- purses, hygiene products, clothing, snacks and money.

Each month she collects her items and thanks everyone for their help.

There were times she collected so much, she was able to help a couple organizations in Tucson (Sister Jose's Woman's Shelter, Pima Community College, WorldCare, Veteran Woman Warriors).

Her theme is "women reaching out to women with dignity, respect and compassion."

No matter how busy she is, Valerie has made her donations each month this year.

She is driven, supportive and kind-hearted at all times.

Valerie never looks for the thanks, but this would show her how much we all appreciate her effort and value her presence and contributions to the community. -- Karla Kaiser.

(Valerie) is a very giving person.

She has worked all this year to make a monthly donation to Sister Jose Women's Center.

That is just a small portion of what she does for people, she does a lot for her friends all the time. -- Jamie Machado.

We know there are plenty of other people making a difference out there in our community.

But we need your help! Nominate your hero by clicking HERE.

We want to feature one hero every month, so keeping those submissions coming.

MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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