Jennifer Lacefield cares a lot.
As a child, Lacefield had the typical career dreams most children do -- she wanted to be a doctor.
"I was not gifted with the scientific and mathematical abilities required to succeed in the ongoing coursework for that profession," Lacefield said. "So, I decided to pursue coursework in college that I succeeded at and enjoyed, which was psychology and sociology."
Lacefield attributes a variety of events leading to her eventual employment at Randy Sams' Outreach Shelter.
"I moved from Tyler to Texarkana to work at Southwest Arkansas Counseling & Mental Health Center as a regional director of a children and youth wraparound services grant program," Lacefield said.
While Lacefield learned a lot from her time at SWACMHC, the program came to an abrupt end when it was eliminated halfway through 2018 due to significant changes in mental health service structure in Texas. Lacefield quickly picked up work at Domestic Violence Prevention Inc. for eight months, due to her relationship with its then-director.
"(That was) in part, why she offered me work following my layoff," Lacefield said.
From DVP, Lacefield gained more skills that ensured a clear roadway to Randy Sams, she just didn't know it at the time.
"Everyone wants to make a difference in life, and for me, working in the field of social services is the most impactful way to accomplish that," Lacefield said. " I also enjoy being a support to the Randy Sams' staff who work hard in their roles every week providing direct services and structure to the homeless we serve."
Lacefield credits her mother for shaping her to be the woman that she is today.
"My mother worked hard to make sure my sister and I had opportunities to be successful and happy," Lacefield said. "She has always been a highly faith-centered and selfless person and wanted the best for my sister and me."
Lacefield said she has learned a lot during her time as executive director of Randy Sams', but she still has goals that she wishes to achieve during her tenure.
"My goals in my work for Randy Sams' include strengthening existing relationships and establishing new partnerships and means of support so that the population we serve will have as many beneficial avenues for growth and sustainability of independence as possible," Lacefield said.
The staff at Randy Sams' has special plans for its clients during the holidays. For Thanksgiving, a special lunch was given to clients and area homeless who came in seeking a meal as well.
"The community was instrumental in donating needed items to make that happen," Lacefield said. "We are also providing our clients with a special Christmas dinner."
Lacefield said the organization will always welcome cold weather clothing donations at this time of year, as they provide the clothing to their clients and area homeless who are in need.
"We are still in need of more to get us through the remaining cold weather months ahead," Lacefield said. "Although we provide a variety of items year-round with the help of the community, we are always low on a few types of essential hygiene and other clothing items and struggle to accommodate the need."
These items include (for both men and women) deodorant, shaving razors and cream, toothpaste/floss, new underwear and bras.
If people are unable to donate these items directly, monetary donations are also beneficial. Donated funds can be used to purchase these items.
Monetary donations can be made via the website at www.randysams.org or via check mailed to 803 Spruce St., Texarkana, TX 75501.