Inspired by their personal health struggles, Marlaina Headley and Deysy Ordóñez-Arreola, decided to tackle the lack of resources under-served communities have to live healthy lives. After various bike rides and conversations about how expensive nutrition resources are and how difficult life must be for those who cannot afford proper medical care for diseases such as diabetes (especially in New York City!), they decided to make a difference.
Speaking from her personal experience, Marlaina, diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the young age of 6 and Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 20, understands the expensive costs of living with autoimmune diseases. She also knows that being healthy, active, and eating nutritious foods can help control the diseases and their effects on her body. Deysy, on the other hand, having struggled with her weight her entire life, began to learn more in depth about Type 1 (and Type 2) Diabetes and Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis as her friendship with Marlaina matured. She too became an advocate for mindful eating and exercise, not just for people with diabetes but for everyone.
Together, they combined their love of being all things healthy and engaging the community and, in 2015, Marlaina and Deysy founded Clothing Hope, Inc. to empower under-served communities to be health conscious; enhance the lives of those living with diabetes in such communities; and be active supporters of health and medical research.
Clothing Hope’s first event was a nutrition workshop at Kosciusko Providence House. With the support of family and friends, Clothing Hope, Inc. continues to provide nutrition and diabetes counseling workshops led by our Registered Dietitian; healthy cooking classes led by a popular NYC Food Blogger; and basic to intense exercise classes led by certified fitness instructors all free of charge.
In efforts to fund these workshops, Clothing Hope, Inc. collects donations of clothing and housewares throughout New York City and sells them at thrift-shop style booths throughout the city. With the aspirations of someday having a facility to sell these donated items and host workshops in a permanent location, Clothing Hope, Inc. gladly does donation pick ups (even if it means carrying up to 15 boxes of clothes and kitchenware on foot!) from houses, offices, and apartments in the five boroughs of NYC. Additionally, Clothing Hope, Inc. while still young, is developing partnerships which allow college students to donate their items when vacating their dorms smoothly.