Local Retiree Shows a Heart for the Homeless - People Helping People Series

Friday, September 08 at 04:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

There’s one thing people need to know about Johnette Weiss.

“She’s a very strong-willed woman,” her friend, Robert Peoples, said with a laugh. “She wants something done, she’ll get it done.”

Weiss’ strong will has served her well over her 75 years. Visually impaired most of her life, Weiss spent 40 years working as an instructor at World Services for the Blind. Now retired, she channels her energy and determination into making hygiene kits for the homeless “because everybody needs some deodorant, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, just anything to make us more presentable. It makes a person feel good about himself or herself if they're clean.”

Weiss is the 21st person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.

Weiss’ desire to help others was ingrained early. She grew up on a farm and remembers her mother, Ann Bartholomew, sharing extra milk, eggs and vegetables with a nearby neighbor in need. Weiss said her mother didn’t have extra money to give the neighbor, so she helped the only way she could.

“It made an impression on me as a little girl and now I want to help some, too,” she said.

That experience has shaped her approach to life over the years. "My philosophy in life is if each person can make a little bit of difference, can make life a little bit better for someone, then we’ve done something good.”

Weiss has been retired for about 10 years, and has been preparing the hygiene kits for about eight years. One of the challenges she faces when she is assembling the kits is to keep the items separated. She uses braille lables to help her with the task.

“I see the need for the homeless because just about every time you go shopping you're going to see someone that's asking for some help,” Weiss said. “I can't help every one of those people, but I can put together those hygiene kits, and I take them to the shelter that passes them out. They see those people that need that specific help, and they can use those kits to make that person's life just a little bit better.

“It makes me feel good to know I'm helping others because it just makes me feel that I'm being the kind of person I ought to be.”

Watch* Weiss tell her story of helping others. Keep an eye on our social media channels for videos highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Little Rock, People Helping People
Debbie Peoples on 9/19/2017 at 10:08 PM
Thank you for making this video. I know Johnette personally and she deserves recognition for all the lives she has touched - not just the homeless but many in her church, family, and community.

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