Good morning and Happy Holidays! My name is Laura Harris and I began working with United Way of Southeastern Connecticut about 2 weeks ago as a Loaned Employee sponsored by Mohegan Sun. I have had a great time so far learning how things work in the office and about all the great things our staff and volunteers are a part of!
One of the many events we are involved in is the Tommy Toy Fund, and yesterday I got to see this in action- what a great way to spend my morning!! Two weeks ago I had never even heard of The Tommy Toy Fund, and I certainly had no idea how many toys were collected and distributed by such amazing volunteers.
When I arrived in Norwich yesterday, after a few wrong turns (I am new to the area!), I was greeted with a Santa hat and a Live United shirt. There was a lot to be done, and already a large group of volunteers was working on getting ready to open the doors. Some folks were sorting toys into age and gender appropriate sections so that distribution would run smoothly, some making hot cocoa to keep everyone warm and others setting up computers used to check in families.
As soon as the doors opened it was like a well oiled machine. Everyone seemed to know exactly what to do and how to keep the growing line moving. I was amazed by the organization and efficiency throughout the morning.
The best part of it all though had to be the continuous smiles. Every volunteer I interacted with had a smile on and was ready to help. I also got to have some great conversations with people who were picking up toys. One gentleman shared with me that he had recently suffered a massive heart attack and was so thankful to have Christmas with his family this year. Others chatted with me about the weather or about their families/ loved ones.
Overall the day was great, and I was reminded of how exciting it is to work for United Way and to be involved in this community and about how a little kindness goes a long way.
Maybe it was the Santa hats and hot cocoa or the amazing volunteers who helped distribute toys, but I know I am much more in the holiday spirit after spending the day at Tommy Toy!