In October of 2009, Noel Haacker began dreaming up a project––a project that would eventually change the lives of several families and individuals in the Bossier-Shreveport community forever.
For more than 30 years, Noel worked as a professional interior designer. Throughout her career, she noticed her clients had the desire and means to update, improve and enhance the décor and furniture within their new homes. However, after her projects were completed, Noel said she kept hearing the same question asked by her clients: “Now that I have these new things, what do I do with my old stuff?”
Noel saw how interior designers typically produce an abundance of quality, used furniture and household items, and she felt a calling to use this abundance to serve those in need. She then created what is now known as the “Renesting Project.”
When the Renesting Project first began, Noel also established two other projects to work alongside it: Olive Branch, which served the homeless through faith-based partners, and Sweet Dreams, which provided new beds to homeless clients. Two years ago, the Renesting Project expanded their services to serve those at risk of becoming homeless, as well as those who were already homeless.
During this expansion, Noel and her team made the decision to combine the three programs into one. Now, with the help of volunteers, the Renesting Project provides gently used furniture, household items and new mattresses to the clients of their registered community partners.
The Renesting Project is quickly approaching their 10th anniversary of operations, and Noel said during those years she witnessed many lives touched by her organization. One of her favorite memories involves a woman she had the privilege to meet last fall.
At the night of their annual fundraising event last year, guests were enjoying local food truck meals when one of the food truck workers began taking orders by walking down the line of guests. She started visiting with the guests and inquired what the event was raising money for. She quickly realized the Renesting Project had once served her.
Noel said she could not wait to meet this woman––a former homeless veteran they had served five years before.
“We sat together, laughed, hugged, and yes, we even cried,” said Noel. “I loved how her face lit up when she told me that many Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were enjoyed around the dining table, how well she slept in the bed and read by the light from the lamps we provided.”
And so while the Renesting Project was serving those in need, Noel began to realize that it was also serving her as well.
“I had no idea what fulfillment in my professional life meant until I was fortunate enough to become the founder and executive director of Renesting Project,” said Noel. “I have a more well-rounded perspective and greater understanding that we––all people––are more alike than different.”
In honor of National Give Something Away Day, July 15, now is the perfect opportunity to get plugged in to the Renesting Project to donate or serve as a volunteer. Volunteers have the option of participating in direct service or serving behind the scenes if they choose, and as Noel says, “We always have room for more!”
For those who are interested in volunteering with the Renesting Project, visit their website and go to the volunteer tab to sign up.