Nonprofit: House of Hope, Stuart, Florida (www.hohmartin.org)
R.V. Johnson Insurance in Stuart, Florida, has been named a Safeco Change Agent—earning a $2,000 donation from Safeco to House of Hope, which provides food, clothing, furniture, financial assistance, and life-changing services to Martin County residents in need. Kelly Johnson, vice president at R.V. Johnson, and other agency employees gather every other month to prepare meal kits for the nonprofit. Here, she shares her giving story.
We’ve been supporting House of Hope since 2013, starting with an annual food drive and then expanding to other activities, such as creating a "thrift store" from employee donations and using the proceeds to help supply food for Thanksgiving dinners.
After several years, however, we wanted to go deeper, to get more involved. That's how we started preparing meal kits for the organization—all it took was one session, and we were hooked! On average, about 10 people (sometimes including family members and kids) get together after work every other month and pack about 70 boxes full of food. We make a fun competition out of it, and then often go out to dinner afterward.
It's a bonding experience for the entire team, and it fits perfectly with R.V. Johnson's culture of social responsibility. I truly believe that activities like this create stronger relationships among our employees, and they have an impact on the success of our agency, too.
Most important, though, is the fact that we're helping House of Hope achieve its mission. The meal kits we prepare go to people in our community who need assistance—some of the approximately 6,000 individuals that the organization serves each month. That support extends well beyond meals; House of Hope provides case management, programs for job skills and more.
Rob Ranieri, the CEO of House of Hope, told me that last year their volunteers worked more than 43,000 hours! I don't know exactly how many of those hours came from our staff, but I'm proud to know that it's probably at least a hundred or so.
Giving even the smallest amount of time or money can make a big impact. As little as $1 can contribute to a meal for a child or family; donating time can create an even more powerful effect, both for the nonprofit and the person who volunteers. The sense of unity that comes from giving back contributes to the feeling that we are all "one."
Volunteering is one of the greatest gifts you can give—not only to the organizations and individuals who receive your help, but also to the community as a whole. And it warms my heart to know we’re playing even a small role in making life better in Martin County.