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Community Involvement: Small Efforts, Big Rewards

Happy New Year! As the new year and the frigid temps are upon us, CFR continues with traditions and new ideas.

In December, CFR began what will be a recurring theme of giving back to our community by volunteering at Dégagé Ministries, a local women’s shelter. Dégagé is a temporary shelter for women in transition in the Heartside Community in downtown Grand Rapids. Dégagé provides over-night housing, assistance with procuring state identification, and other resources for individuals seeking to get back on their feet.

One event sponsored by Dégagé was a Warm Weather Clothing Sale. A generous anonymous benefactor donated several thousand dollars worth of high quality (think Carhart) winter outerwear to Dégagé. The items were sold to Dégagé patrons. While not free, the items were significantly reduced in price, ranging from $2 (gloves) to $10 (full winter coverall).

I have had the opportunity to volunteer at Dégagé for the past year. My CFR colleagues Andy Boddy and Nate Cottrell both had the opportunity to join me during the Warm Weather Clothing Sale, donating their morning by assisting patrons of the Heartside Community to find and select warm clothing during the sale.

My personal involvement with the ministry and getting to know the regulars at Dégagé has been an extraordinary experience. Both Andy and Nate also felt the satisfaction of being part of a larger effort to care for those in our community who are the least fortunate. It not only connects us with our community, but we also get to know the patrons. The fact is, we can all be just one event away from needing somewhere to live. Donating our time is our way of giving back to the community… our version of “Do the Right Thing” in our industry. By sharing and caring for the less fortunate we contribute to the safety and health of our local community (sneaking out of the office for a morning wasn’t too bad either).

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to lend recently lend a hand to a neighbor during a time of need. Or maybe someone helped you. We encourage everyone to go ahead and pay it forward. Together, we can all work to make this a better world. Consider encouraging your company to give back as well. You might find that a small investment pays big rewards.

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