By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
Here at RoofersCoffeeShop® we love to highlight the giant heart that this industry has, so when we heard what the Cleveland council of NWIR was doing in their community we wanted to learn more. I reached out to Lisa Garcia, president of the Cleveland council to see what they had been up to.
Lisa Garcia is the Technology Innovation Specialist at Tremco and took on the role of president for her local Cleveland council when they formed just 18 months ago. Knowing that one of the focuses for the NWIR national organization is helping women in crisis, she knew the perfect charity for the Cleveland council to focus on: WomenSafe.
Lisa shares that “WomenSafe is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been a volunteer since 2009 and been on board of directors since 2017. WomenSafe is a domestic violence shelter serving Northeast Ohio. It’s open to men, women and children - anyone who is experiencing violence in their home.”
Whenever the Cleveland council hosts an event, they encourage participants to bring items to donate. “We collect things like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent – items that are needed but usually overlooked,” explained Lisa. “At Thanksgiving we collected canned foods and for Christmas we adopted a family. So many chipped in that we were able to get every single thing on the family’s wish list. In fact, we had so many donations that we ended up helping 12 individual families consisting of 27 total people, the kids ages ranged from 18 months to 15 years old,” said Lisa.
The items on the moms’ wish lists were things you might not expect. Lisa explained that when someone ends up in a domestic violence shelter, they have literally just escaped a terrible situation and don’t have anything. “Popular items on the list were things like pots and pans or socks; things we take for granted and they don’t have,” said Lisa.
But this council didn’t just stop with one organization. They reached out to the local YWCA and a few of their members went through the training required to become volunteers. Every month the Y hosts a birthday party for everyone who celebrated a birthday that month. The Cleveland NWIR Council held a drive to collect presents and provided a cake for one of the celebrations. They also collected some of the Y’s most needed items like toothbrushes, deodorant, toiletries, and totes.
Lisa shared that when they did their volunteer training, they learned that the women like books. They collected many boxes of books and got to witness the excitement of the women when they delivered the books to be added to the lending library.
“It was one of the most rewarding things that we have done,” shared Lisa. “To see the excitement on their faces was just incredible.”
They didn’t stop there either. The NWIR Cleveland Council also spent some time volunteering at the Cleveland Food Bank to pack meals for their local Meals on Wheels service. Lisa shared that her favorite part about volunteering there was using the machine that seals the trays with the plastic film. There is nothing more rewarding than giving back and getting to use a favorite tool at the same time! As if all of these efforts weren’t enough, the Council also helped the food bank stuff backpacks that help feed kids over the weekend. With many kids getting their only meals at school during the week, they go home on the weekends and don’t have any food. The Cleveland Food Bank provides backpacks every Friday to children that are filled with nonperishable items like fruit cups, granola bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the weekend. The children return the backpacks on Monday so they can be filled for the following weekend.
While NWIR has focus beyond charitable giving including mentoring, networking, education and recruitment; however, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to give back to the communities where we live, work and play.
To see if your area has a local NWIR council visit NWIR’s national website at www.nationalwomeninroofing.org.