In 2014, Greystone launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging employees to become more involved in the communities they live and work in. The program, dubbed, “VTO” (short for “Volunteer Time Off”), gives all full-time employees up to 3 fully paid days off per year to volunteer for a not-for-profit organization of their choice. In addition to the time donated, Greystone also donates $50 to the organization for each day an employee volunteers.
Megan Cline, from our Web Marketing team, shares her story:
In late March I volunteered myself to be a sponsor on a trip for my church’s middle school Spring Break trip to Kansas City, MO to attend a weekend conference. Why I volunteered, I have no idea. Was it a great trip? You bet it was!
Since we were traveling 12 hours across country for a 2 day conference, we decided to make our trip more worthy of our time by signing up for a day of volunteering at a local homeless day shelter, Hope Faith Ministries.
Hope Faith Ministries is located in downtown Kansas City and serves the homeless community as a day shelter – a place that opens after the night shelters shut down. They serve breakfast and lunch, provide showers, medical care (including dental and vision exams), computer labs, laundry, haircuts and clothes (…lots of clothes)! Hope Faith is a place that will provide assistance for those who are wanting to get out of homelessness and into a more stable environment.
When walking into the shelter, our group of middle schoolers were wide-eyed and a bit hesitant. There were people sprawled out on the floors sleeping (taking full advantage of a warm place to lie down), others were waiting patiently for the food lines to open while others stared at us while we were getting a tour of the facility. We were told to buddy up and to stick with our buddy throughout the day for our own safety.
Our group helped to prepare and serve the meals, sort incoming donations (clothing, furniture and other miscellaneous items), organize clothing and prepare for items to be released in their stores, and to clean up their clothing stores from the previous weekend shopping day. The clothing stores (men, women and children’s clothing) open only on the weekends and everyone can come and pick out one complete outfit per week, free of charge (that includes shoes, socks, undergarments, pants/skirts, tops, jacket, tie, etc.). This is one of Hope Faith’s biggest opportunities: to provide clothing for all who are in need. These stores are setup like actual stores that we all shop at, giving folks a more normal experience.
I had the opportunity to sit down at lunch with a gentleman who was eager to tell me how much Hope Faith is helping him. His strong desire to get out of his homelessness was evident and he wanted to reassure me that the mistakes that he made were in the past and his desire is to look and move forward. Hope Faith is helping him do those things – where others would look at him and close the door, Hope Faith opened their doors and are assisting him to move forward.
That was only one story – one story out of so many. I love what Hope Faith has done in that community. They have such passion to help, and it is ever so evident. What a blessing it was for me to be able to serve with them for a day!