Thanksgiving Angels

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In early September MBI Director of Human Resources, Tom Reese, reached out to Volunteer Square looking to find some volunteer opportunities for his employees. After our initial meeting to discuss what they were looking for and where they wanted to focus their volunteering, Volunteer Square presented MBI with a menu of volunteer opportunities to choose from, "This is just the kind of menu we need to get something started here," Tom shared. After a review with the MBI team, the quickly choose their first project.

Tom shared that they wanted to explore options with Norwalk Community Health Center as it was nearby and their mission falls in line with what MBI was looking for. With over 250 employees in their Norwalk Office, they were interested in projects that many people could be involved and asked Volunteer Square to discuss with NCHC what was most needed.

When I reached out to Betty Cordellos, Director of Development at Norwalk Community Health Center, to inquire about the possibilities for MBI staff she was thrilled. She shared that for a number of years, a couple who had a business in South Norwalk near the original location of the Center donated 200 turkeys every year for their Thanksgiving drive, it was wonderful. NCHC would reach out to the local community to donate additional food for sides so they could fill a bag filled with a Thanksgiving dinner for 200 families. Then, two years ago the couple moved to Florida and for the first time last year NCHC had to provide the 200 turkeys and even with a small grant and some donations from Stew Leonards, it was tough. They were facing the same situation this year, and Betty said: "If MBI wants to be our Thanksgiving Angels, that would be a huge weight off the shoulders of our team."

When I shared this story with MBI they sprang into action, quickly committing to donate 200 turkeys and fill 200 bags filled with everything needed to make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. In just under two weeks they entire staff pitched in to make this a success. Monica Ogrodowski, Senior HR Manager shared "Even senior staff jumped in to help, everyone was packing bags, running out to shop for last minute items, it was really fun."

On Saturday, November 17th the MBI truck pulled up to deliver at Norwalk Community Health Center. A line of families was already forming before the 9am start, to pick up their Thanksgiving bags and turkeys. Families were also treated to fresh vegetables and potatoes, donated by Gazy Brothers Farm, who operate the Farmer's Market in warm weather at NCHC.

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The Norwalk Community Health Center staff was so grateful as the team from MBI carried in boxes of turkeys and bags of sides. They couldn't stop saying how wonderful this was and how much it helped the 200 families that were invited to come to pick up their meals. Families were also grateful, thanking both MBI and NCHC staff as they walked through the line to pick up their food. The wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving filled the room with a wonderful feeling. The staff at MBI truly were "Thanksgiving Angels!"

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The relationship between MBI and NCHC is just starting. In January, MBI staff will begin a project to paint a mural in the pediatric dental suite. With artists on staff at MBI, this is something they were so excited about and a project that the Health Center has been looking for someone to complete to make the pediatric dental suite a warm and welcoming place for kids.

The Volunteer Square team is excited to coordinate the next project with MBI and NCHC and hopefully many more after that. We love working to match local companies with non-profits that need groups to complete projects. Congratulations to the team at MBI for all of your hard work to help the staff at Norwalk Community Health Center give 200 families a very Happy Thanksgiving!