By Brooke Graham, Volunteer Coordinator
“See a need, meet a need.” You likely know this old adage. It’s something Polly had in mind this holiday season.
Polly spent a week in December volunteering at St. John’s and in the community. She was introduced to the idea of “ride insecurity.” Polly met a St. John’s guest who didn’t have a ride to work that day. This guest didn’t have a vehicle or a bus pass, and the friend lined up to give her a ride that day backed out on short notice. Further, this guest had no minutes on her cell phone and had left her work badge in yet another friend’s vehicle, when she had gotten a ride a previous day.
Polly told me she hadn’t realized that “ride insecurity” was as prevalent an issue for many of our neighbors here in Green Bay. It can be easy to take for granted the resources that many of us have access to. That day, when Polly volunteered at St. John’s, she learned that one item we often need at St. John’s but don’t always have, is bus passes. And so she reached out to her friends and family, raising nearly $3000 and purchasing 275 daily passes, 60 weekly passes and 25 monthly passes for St. John’s guests.
She said, “I.am.stunned. My friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers have been so incredibly generous and supportive. Not only will these bus passes help our homeless community members get back on their feet by providing transportation to get much needed medical care, and to their jobs, but it will free up money for St. John’s shelter’s other programs…. your generosity is not a handout. It truly is a hand UP for a lot of really vulnerable people in our own community. I really do believe there is more that unites us than divides us, and starting with our own, we are making this world a better place to live in. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being just good human beings.”
When asked, ‘why volunteering?’ Polly says she is inspired by her late father, who always helped his friends in need. She says, “It would be important to him that I continued that.”
What would Polly say to others considering volunteering? “Really you need to make a difference in your community, and it starts with something small, like bus passes… If everyone does something little… it will make a huge difference.”