KOLD HEROES: Tucson woman's giving anything but basic

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.

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.
Not only is Valerie Graham my hero, she is also my mother.
Valerie has made it her personal mission to collect purses and fill them with toiletry articles all year.
Valerie collects different items monthly for Sister Jose Women's Center.
I would like to nominate Valerie Graham for the local HERO award as her huge loving heart truly deserves it.
Val is my mom's friend and is the most thoughtful and giving person.
I have been friends with Valerie Graham for over 15 years, and couldn't think of a more deserving hero.
(Valerie) is a very giving person.

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.

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