Each year, three cousins native to Marion help their hometown through a coat drive for kids. Although one remains in Marion, the three hearts are focused on giving back through a nonprofit they co-founded and named, “The Dodson Legacy.”
Co-founder Shawnita Washington of Indianapolis shared, “Our grandparents, Harold and Marcella Dodson, were absolute givers. Our whole family gives. Otis Dodson, the head of Prince Hall, is our uncle. We partner with other family members as well.”
The Dodson Legacy’s big project each year is the “Spread the Love Coat Drive,” holding strong four years in a row. In October of 2022, Over 160 coats were given to children in need after organizers gleaned specific needs from school counselors. The extra 150 coats were provided to the Grant County Rescue Mission and Open Heart Women’s Shelter.
Co-founder ShaRelle Clark lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, and stays committed to the community where she was born and raised. “I feel strongly about giving back to the place that made me who I am. It’s important to remember your roots. The Dodson Legacy is our roots, our family. We learn from others, and support others.”
Marion resident and co-founder, Erika Smith, expressed her passion for helping her community. “I’m already excited for next year. We’ve already gotten a call from Burlington Coat Factory who’ll be assigning several stores in Indiana to help our cause.” Smith explained most of the need seems to be for elementary-age children, and they usually have to shop for remaining sizes after receiving coat donations.
The nonprofit is growing each year with more individual supporters and partnerships. Smith hopes the coat drive will eventually help all school systems in the county as they make more connections.
Smith offered that Marion is packed full of resources. “There are so many…from food giveaways to drive-up food banks, our community is pretty amazing — open and ready to serve. We also have that hometown closeness. We take care of our neighbors.”
To learn more, follow @DodsonLegacy on Facebook.