Darlene Allen founded the Mildred W. Fairclough Foundation, named for...

Darlene Allen founded the Mildred W. Fairclough Foundation, named for her mother, in 2012. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Darlene Allen’s late mother always taught her and her siblings that it was their duty to give a helping hand to those who are struggling.

“My mother embedded in us to help others,” said Allen, 64, one of six children. “She would say don’t think twice about giving; if you’re giving from your heart that’s all that matters.”

Allen, of Uniondale, has continued to use her mother’s words as a guide in her role as the founder and chief executive of the Mildred W. Fairclough Foundation, a nonprofit named in memory of her mother, who died at the age of 81 in 2007. The foundation, launched in 2012, provides resources and support to low-income residents of Hempstead, Roosevelt and Uniondale.

Since its inception, the foundation has hosted dozens of events to benefit those communities — including giveaways of food, holiday toys and about 300 winter coats per year. Its biggest event is an annual community barbecue that each year has a different theme, such as educating attendees on domestic violence or bringing together residents and police “so they can learn from each other,” Allen said.

"It’s been a blessing, because this not only helps my community, but it helps me as well," Allen said. "By getting up every morning and knowing that I’m going out there to help someone, it’s definitely been therapeutic for me."

Allen, who spent 25 years working as a certified nursing assistant at the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale, retired following a car accident that she said left her unconscious for 21 days in 2013. Since then, the mother of five boys has focused solely on the foundation, she said.

“When I retired, I didn’t know where I was going to go and I thought my life was over,” Allen said. “But I thought about something my mom always said: 'Nothing is over until you’re six feet under.' ”

Through the foundation, which operates on donations from family and friends, Allen coordinated a basketball tournament last fall at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale and gave away 300 tickets to students in Roosevelt and Uniondale. The foundation also purchased 11 computers to help create resumes and assist individuals with job placement in conjunction with the organization HempsteadWorks.

Patricia Allen, no relation, is a mother of five adopted children. She said the foundation gifted three bicycles to her children last year and helped her daughter, Capri, obtain a job at the Long Island Children's Museum in Uniondale.

"She's always doing something good," Patricia Allen, 74, said of Darlene Allen. "If anybody needs help, she's relentless and goes out of her way. She's really nice when it comes to outreach and she's very helpful."

Darlene Allen’s altruism also resulted in her being among the honorees this year at the Town of Hempstead’s Black History Month celebration in February.

"It’s important to celebrate the best of the best, and we were proud to honor Darlene for her commitment to the families of Hempstead, Roosevelt and Uniondale," said the town's deputy supervisor, Dorothy Goosby. "She is a shining star of our community.”

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