Asa's Angels is now preparing for their annual Easter basket drive. If you would like to donate cash or items you can visit www.asasangels.com. Volunteers are also needed and greatly appreciated.
By Deanna Adams
Asa Cox’s goal has always been to make a difference and help others less fortunate. But even she had no idea how far-reaching her efforts would go. She is presently in her third decade of helping thousands of people, whether it’s enabling them to buy their own home, aiding families with other needs, or putting smiles on children’s faces in a variety of ways.
And it all began as a result of her own poverty.
“My father died three months before I was born so my single mother struggled a lot. We were very poor the whole time I grew up,” she says. “I made it my life’s mission to find a way to give back as an adult.”
Giving back came first in the form of becoming a realtor, with a specific calling to provide those with low income, poor credit and little money for a down payment a way to purchase their own home. She launched Asa Cox Homes in 1991, and quickly utilized the benefits of the USDA Rural Housing program, which provides homeownership opportunities through grants and loans for Americans in low-income rural areas.
It was the perfect vehicle to drive her business and her mission. “With this great program, I can help anyone who truly wants to buy a house with no money down,” she says, adding that her own daughter bought her first home at age 18.
From there, she started taking a portion of every listing and sale from Asa Cox Homes and founded Asa’s Angels, a nonprofit that aids people in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties—and beyond. “That’s our primary area, though we don’t turn anyone away who is in need,” she adds. “Our program is focused on struggling families suffering with illness, loss of work, or other difficult situations.” Cox conducts interviews to ensure that their help is going straight to those most in need.
A recent example of her philanthropic work was when Cox and her team came to the aid of a homeless man, helping him get back on his feet by setting him up in a local hotel and taking him to get a much needed haircut and clothes.
“It’s true that many people are just two paychecks away from getting behind in rent and other bills,” Cox explains. “It can literally happen to anyone and it means so much when we can help them out.”
Since beginning Asa’s Angels 14 years ago, Cox has organized three annual fundraisers at Christmas, Easter, and back-to-school time. Throughout the year, she’s busy storing a warehouse full of housing items to be ready to give out at any time. She’s grateful that they receive much support from the community. “Churches, businesses, volunteers and private donations all contribute to making each of our programs a success,” she notes.
Through generous donations all year long, Cox acquires a variety of clothing and household supplies, along with furniture through Ohio Furniture Warehouse. “Last year, we gave 300 beds to children who were sleeping on floors or couches.” Just in the past year alone, she managed to raise an incredible $900,000 for a variety of people and families in need with her 501c3 charity, and spent approximately $100 on Christmas gifts for every child whose name was included in the Christmas campaign. Best of all, the presents were specific things that parents said were on their children’s holiday wish list.
Now it’s time for the annual Easter basket drive and Asa’s Angels are busy acquiring 3,000 to 4,000 baskets to distribute to excited children. Their team spends weeks assembling and preparing the baskets to be ready for distribution day and they are currently accepting items to fill the baskets, such as jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.
Of course, like everything else during this pandemic, Cox has had to change how to do these types of events, but she’s come up with a plan that works well. There are several ways in which to donate.
Anyone who would like to help provide a child with a cheery Easter Basket can register online at www.AsasAngels.com. Donations, be it cash or basket items, will be welcomed from now until March 31. Item drop-offs are being accepted at Century 21 Asa Cox Homes from 9am–5pm, Mondays through Fridays. In addition, direct donations are accepted through a link on the Asa’s Angels website, www.AsasAngels.com.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, Cox is in need of more volunteers. People can visit the Asa's Angels Facebook page to connect with her to offer assistance, or to ask for help. “We have 5,000 followers on Facebook so all anyone has to do is private message me about anyone in need.” She proudly adds, “Families reach out to us all through the year after hearing of us from word-of-mouth, radio advertising or our real estate transactions. We’ve helped fire victims, those who’ve lost jobs or having housing issues. My team is awesome and I couldn’t do it without them.”
She hopes her actions inspire others to do the same. “If every one of us gave just a few dollars or volunteered to help others, it would make a huge difference in the kind of world we live in.”
Century 21 Asa Cox Homes is located at 2709 N. Ridge Road, Painesville. Call (440) 639-0002. Visit their website, or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AsasAngelsOfHope.