CLEVELAND — Dean Roff spent part of the Memorial Day holiday at Cleveland’s Public Square. He was working to make a difference. Roff passed out toiletry bags filled with the necessities that the homeless need.
“It started with me having a bad day and realizing helping others is a good way to realize my problems are very minimal,” explained Roff.
One act of kindness turned into the nonprofit group Homeless Hookup CLE. And now, Roff doesn’t just reach the homeless on foot. He has taken his labor of love on the road after a Lakewood firefighter donated an RV to the organization.
“From that point, the first responders of Lakewood have installed a hardwood floor, barber chair, shower,” explained Roff. There is a thrift store where those in need can take a new set of clothing.
“Our goal is they don’t leave the bus looking homeless,” added Roff.
On Saturday, Homeless Hookup CLE teamed up with Journey Church and The Greater Cleveland Hope Exchange and set up shop on Fulton Road in Cleveland.
“Our purpose is to bring hope to the city. When you give hope, you actually get hope,” said Megan Gallagher with The Greater Cleveland Hope Exchange.
Homeless Hookup CLE along with the other organizations provided dozens of haircuts, more than 150 meals, and 100 outfits.
Allie Martin was one of the volunteers. She heard Roff’s message when he parked the RV in her high school parking lot and told his story to the students, a story that touched her heart.
"I’m grateful for what I have, and I think it’s important to share what people who are more fortunate have with others who don’t have the same opportunities,” explained Martin.
Roff and an army of volunteers are changing one life at a time. But, for Roff, it is a very personal journey. The Navy veteran has walked in the shoes of the homeless, he was homeless once. “Our goal is to be that bright lift at a dark time,” said Roff.
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