Tuesday, December 05, 2006


In keeping with the mission of our bank "NCB will support and be an advocate for America's cooperatives and their members, especially in low-income communities, by providing innovative financial and related services," employees participate in a giving campaign each November. The pledge to give bimonthly (or in a lump sum) a portion of their salaries to charity is matched by the bank. For every dollar that employees give, the bank puts aside a dollar to fund "The Corporate Contributions Committee." Each month this committee comprised of employees receives requests for donations to various charities.

When I came to the bank about 12 years ago, there was a project that was bank-wide. It was called Healthcare for the Homeless. The idea was that throughout the year employees would save their unused hotel toiletries and shoeboxes from shoes they bought.

About five years ago I began to head up this project. People would send me their toiletries and shoeboxes which I would store until late November or early December. I would create a budget of items to supplement the toiletries and submit it to the committee. They would provide me money to purchase items such as healthy snacks
colorful sox for the kids or white crew socks for the adults
T-shirts for all

Small toys for the kids
Caps and gloves or scarves

In late November or early December volunteers would help me assemble the shoeboxes -- 200 in all -- 50 each for women, men, girls and boys. We then transport these gift boxes to Unity Healthcare in D.C. which distributes them through their homeless outreach program.

When I made the decision to retire next year, I sought out someone to take over this project starting the day the 2006 boxes were delivered. That was today.

This will not end my advocacy for the homeless since I have been involved in such work since the the mid 1980's, so I pass the "shoe box" without reluctance to Sylvia and look forward to a similar project wherever I settle in retirement.


Barbara said...

Brava to you for this humanitarian effort. There are so many people out there in our own back yard who are not nearly as fortunate as we are.

Kate said...

Follow-up..............We have a "fire" spot in Maryland and one of the IT guys was there on Tuesday. He sent me email to say he watched a fire rescue team take away a homeless man who had died in the cold the night before. In this richest country, we still do not take care of the poorest. What we do at the bank is such a small dent in the larger picture. I cannot believe I have been working for 20 years as an advocate for the homeless and the situation has changed so little.