Generosity of spirit

August 9, 2019By Acts of Kindness, Behind the Shelf Blog, Tradition of Giving

By Julie Bonnell, vice president operations, for the Tradition of Giving blog series

Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else’s life forever.” – Margaret Cho

Opportunities to make a difference present themselves everyday — it just requires being present in the moment. One of those opportunities occurred last year as I was driving into the office. A local radio station, 88.9 Radio Milwaukee was on and they were talking about a new initiative for them — No Empty Back Packs. They were partnering with five Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) locations to help supply items students need for the academic year. Many families with children attending these schools are financially challenged and have difficulty affording these supplies.

When I shared this initiative with our HRG Wellness team, everyone quickly agreed that we should help. The first day of school is a common experience and all of us could recount stories of both excitement and apprehension. We all realized, that something as simple as having pencils, notebooks, and rulers sets the tone for a positive school year. These kids are the future for economic success in southeastern Wisconsin, why wouldn’t we find a small way to help them with the tools for success?

The picture shows one of two collection boxes in the building. Note there is a list of items that we had already packaged up to go to the collection site and more was still coming in. That’s the generosity of spirit shown by the team here. Ultimately our supplies became part of 22,000 items collected and distributed.

For 2019, we are once again committed to seeing kids get off to a good start for the school year. Our associates live in various areas within southeastern Wisconsin so we know need is everywhere. In 2019 we are partnering with the YMCA in Waukesha County. The Backpack Coalition annually distributes almost 5,000 backpacks. Now if there was only a way to ensure there were no snow days!