A Blessed 2012 to All

James S. Gavrilos
January 1, 2012




A Grateful Client, an Envelope, and $6.00 Cash

Last Saturday, I ran into Ron and Monica Bucher who had just returned to the Boca Helping Hands warehouse after another busy day passing out Pantry Bags in West Boca.  Monica seemed visibly moved and handed me an envelope.  I assumed she was moved because their team had just distributed 200 pantry bags in two hours.  You read that right…

In 2011, the amazing Boca Helping Hands family…

…served over 43,000 hot meals
…distributed over 19,000 pantry bags of groceries
… completed a 5-year Strategic Plan to guide our growth as we move into the future
…recovered over 800,000 pounds of food
…helped over 100 people find gainful employment
…sponsored children for Summer Camp
… completely paid off the remaining debt on the Remillard Family Resource Center
…received a positive response to 25 of the 30 grants for which we applied
…expanded our area of service by bringing the mobile pantry to West Boca
…served over 600 meals on Thanksgiving Day
…distributed over 900 Thanksgiving turkeys and baskets to needy families
…worked over 45,000 volunteer hours
…created and implemented a new software system to better serve our volunteers and clients
…dramatically increased our exposure through numerous stories in the news, both print and electronic

It has been a year!  We must first pause to thank our Board of Directors and its President, Mr. Gary Peters, for their ongoing guidance and direction.  They challenge us to do more…as they themselves do more and lead by example.  We thank our hard-working staff.  Often behind the scenes, Karen, Suzan, Bozena, Sally, and Bill perform their labors of love to better serve those who come to BHH for assistance.  We must thank our volunteers…those amazing volunteers.  Your consistent dedication to those who are struggling is indeed an inspiration.  Anne, Joan and Doc, Peggy and Roberta, Walter, Adam, Tim, and Marilyn set the tone…and we all try to emulate their example.  Whether you work in the Kitchen or Pantry, Warehouse or Resource Center, Job Mentor or Children’s Assistance Programs, Administrative Services, Receptionist or Recovery Driver…you have played your part in our growth and success in 2011.

Finally we thank our donors and contributors.  Without you, we would not have the resources to serve those in need. Just 60 days ago, an anonymous donor challenged our BHH family to match a $175,000 gift by year end.  We are happy to report that with your help not only did we meet that goal…we shattered it…raising over $200,000, allowing us to enter 2012 100% debt free and on solid financial footing.

Out west, one of the clients receiving a pantry bag approached Monica and told her that they had heard about our matching campaign.  They wanted to do something to show their appreciation and they placed an envelope in her hands.  When we opened the envelope here at BHH, we found six dollars in cash…six worn, crumpled dollar bills…from a family struggling so deeply, they had to wait in line for a pantry bag so they could feed their children.  My friends, no donation has ever touched me as deeply as those six dollars.


There are times we get frustrated and overwhelmed in our duties.  Sometimes our clients can get testy…or demanding (for that matter, so can we!).  Some days, the sheer numbers just overwhelm us.  We wonder if we are making a difference.  We wonder if anyone is listening.  We wonder if our clients appreciate our efforts.  We wonder…

And then, you receive an envelope like this one.  And that simple gift reinvigorated my faith in humanity as well as my commitment to the work we do.  That blank envelope and those six dollars reminded me why America will come through this economic downturn.  We will survive because of the strength of the love in our people.  No matter how bad things get, we can always reach down inside ourselves and do something for someone else.  Rather than complain about what we don’t have…we can thank God for what we DO have…and then try to assist someone who has just a little bit less than we do.  Those six crumpled dollar bills reminded me that we at Boca Helping Hands ARE changing lives…and very often, the life we are changing is our own!

A blessed 2012 to all.

With respect,


James S. Gavrilos:  Executive Director
Boca Helping Hands




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