Volunteers Donate Nine Years of Full-Time Work – In One Day!
February 1, 2014
Six thousand BMO employees stepped away from their jobs and into their communities to volunteer. More than 18,685 volunteer hours were donated to projects ranging from rehabbing houses to serving lunch to seniors — the equivalent of nine years of full-time work.
One group of employees worked with Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), a nonprofit neighborhood revitalization organization committed to helping homeowners and strengthening neighborhoods throughout Chicago & Elgin, Ill. Thirty-three volunteers went to Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood and upgraded the UJIMA community garden, as well as rehabbed two abandoned buildings that will be used to house disabled military veterans and their families.
BMO Harris provided not just elbow grease, but supplies ranging from screwdrivers to sod. And by the end of the day, there was a new tool shed in the garden, new drywall in the houses and a long list of other changes, big and small, that led Garden Coordinator and NHS West Humboldt staffer Nita Haley-Gamble to comment:
“The day was awesome. Meeting the people from BMO was great — it was so refreshing to see that even in the banking world they have the same passion to help. Since that day, our garden has such a glow. The sign is eye catching, the pavement is one of a kind, and we even have a section dedicated to offer shade while reading. BMO rocked UJIMA garden!”
Across the country, BMO Harris employees were stepping up in a variety of ways, including:
- BMO volunteers helped sand and paint trim, bend aluminum siding and plant victory gardens at the Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity warehouse.
- At the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Madison, Wis., BMO volunteers hauled brush, mulched trails and planted trees.
- In Indianapolis, Ind., volunteers did landscaping, painting, window washing and general cleanup at transitional housing for homeless veterans.
- In the Carondelet neighborhood of South St. Louis, hammers and nails were the order of the day when volunteers worked on building Habitat for Humanity St. Louis homes.
- At the Rock River Valley Food Pantry, in Rockford, Ill, BMO volunteers mulched, weeded and tended to the pantry's produce garden beds. The garden is an important source of fresh vegetables throughout the summer for the pantry's more than 7,000 monthly visitors.
Says Brad Ballast, BMO Harris Managing Director and Head, U.S. Community Affairs, “Giving back to our local communities is an important part of our culture at BMO Harris Bank. That’s why we’re proud to host our annual Volunteer Day every June. It’s a day when the whole company can come together and roll up its sleeves to help those in most need. The day has a positive impact on our communities, and the work we accomplish and the individuals we help make an impact on our employees, as well.”