Two local nonprofits making a big difference

local news

ODESSA, Texas (FOX 24) – Two nonprofits in Odessa are under one roof and they’re making a big impact in the community. We introduce you to a survivor and some of the volunteers.

The Well Hand of Grace and Dress for Success both offer a variety of services to help women going through challenging times.

“He busted my lip and it was really bad. I still have the mark, still to this day,” said Cheneekwa Merritt, Dress for Success volunteer.

Cheneekwa Merritt

Merritt says she proudly wears what she refers to as her war wound.

“Everyday, I go out. This is what makes me get up each and everyday, because I’m able to wear it. I’m still living. I’m still breathing,” said Merritt.

“It’s powerful to know, I’m not the only one that’s been through this,” said Rachael King, Dress for Success/The Well Hand of Grace volunteer.

Rachael King, Dress for Success/The Well Hand of Grace volunteer

Life hasn’t been easy for King.

“I do have a lot of wounds from the past.,” said King. “They come from when I was young, molested at a young age. When I got into my late 20’s, I was married for three weeks, lost my spouse in the line of duty and I had a newborn baby. I had to bounce back from that.”

They’re among the volunteers at “The Well Hand of Grace” and Dress for Success.

The two nonprofits work closely together.

“The way you feel whenever you put on that clothing, it empowers you,” said Melissa Cruz, Dress for Success/The Well Hand of Grace volunteer.

Melissa Cruz, Dress for Success/The Well Hand of Grace volunteer

Cruz is now paying it forward after getting some help from Dress for Success.

“You feel good, you feel like you already got the job,” said Cruz.

The Well Hand of Grace Founder, Renee Morris and Case Manager, Shawna Hicks, want everyone to know what help and services are available.

Renee Morris, The Well Hand of Grace Founder

“We can write a check, we can give you a gift card, we can help you get into an apartment,” said Morris. “People will remember how you made them feel.”

“Our hands are open and to show them how to let go of the fear of not being helped and the fear and pride of not wanting help; because there are services that are here that no one knows about,” said Shawna Hicks, The Well Hand of Grace Case Manager.

Shawna Hicks, The Well Hand of Grace Case Manager

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