Boca Helping Hands, A look back…and a bright tomorrow!

Boca Helping Hands
December 30, 2010

Together We Can Make A Difference

A look back…and a bright tomorrow!

 

Tomorrow night, the clock will strike midnight and each of us in our own way will welcome the New Year.  Some will do it quietly with family and close friends…while others will go all out and CELEBRATE.  Personally, I welcome each New Year with my four closest friends (Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo…I figure it’s best to start the New Year laughing!).  However, in each of our individual celebrations, there are two basic, common points:  (1) We reflect on a year gone by; and (2) we look forward to the year just beginning.  And so let’s do that together as we approach tomorrow night and 2011.

 

I think we can all agree 2010 was a year of dynamic transition and growth at Boca Helping Hands. We took up residence in the 13,000 square foot Remillard Family Resource Center.  We said farewell to some of our wonderful volunteers whose memories will live forever in our hearts.  We welcomed Karen and (welcomed BACK!!!) Sally to our BHH family.  Linda, Brooke and Constanza moved on to new challenges, leaving behind an example of dedication to duty that is inspiring.  Throughout all this transition, two constants remained:  Our Board President, Gary Peters and our amazing Board of Directors who have provided guidance, stability and direction during some very trying times.  The second constant was our volunteers…our wonderful volunteers who show up day after day…week after week to provide loving compassion to those who are struggling.  Here are some numbers to digest:

 

In 2010…

 

…we logged roughly 37,500 volunteer hours (that staggers the imagination).

…we served nearly 28,000 hot meals.

…we delivered over 2,600 meals to home bound shut-ins.

…we made and delivered over 46,000 sandwiches.

…nearly 900 people participated in our Job Mentor Program.

…nearly 300 people took a computer class to broaden their skill set.

…over 140 people found gainful employment!!!!

…we created and launched a new web-site.

…over $150,000 in direct assistance was disbursed by our Resource Center.

…over $5,000 was disbursed to assist children and their unique needs.

…we passed out nearly 7,000 pantry bags of non-perishables.

…we recovered 400,000 pounds of food.

 

While we believe those number are indicative of an efficient, hard-working organization, we are hardly objective.  But apparently, others think so too!  In 2010, Sun Capital Partners bestowed a $100,000 grant on Boca Helping Hands to support our efforts. The Batchelor Foundation bestowed a $50,000 grant to support Blessings in a Backpack.  And recently, the Cobb Foundation bestowed a $50,000 grant to support our various programs.  And the list goes on…

 

In the two months since we initiated our annual matching campaign, well over $350,000 has been received in unrestricted donations, restricted grants, and of course, the matching grant from our anonymous donor.  These numbers simply defy explanation.  But even these numbers don’t tell the whole story.  Charity Navigator is an objective organization that rates non-profit charities.  With a great deal of joy and pride, I can announce that last week, we received notification that for the fifth consecutive year, Boca Helping Hands has received a Four-Star rating!   A Four-Star rating means that Charity Navigator has rated Boca Helping Hands as an “Exceptional” agency…one that exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in our chosen area.  Ladies and gentlemen…job well done!

 

And so now, we face the challenge of a New Year.  What will the future bring?  On January 15th, we will start to answer that question with the Visioning Seminar. A critical piece of the Strategic Plan, the Visioning Seminar will bring together all our stakeholders on the campus of Saint Andrew’s School to wrestle through a vision statement and the establishment of concrete, realistic and measurable goals.  We want you to be part of our future. Please make every effort to attend the Visioning Seminar (8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.) on Saturday, January 15th.  Your voice, your opinion, and your dreams will help shape the future of Boca Helping Hands.

 

Finally, permit me one concluding thought. Lest we get caught up in a “numbers game,” the true success of Boca Helping Hands is found neither on a spreadsheet nor a yearly report.  The true test of what we do is found in the eyes….

 

…the eyes of those who come to eat lunch every day.

…the eyes of the children whose pictures decorated our Christmas Tree.

…the eyes of those lonely, hurting souls who couldn’t pay their FPL bill.

…the eyes of a client who just got a job.

…the eyes of a child taking home a backpack with food for the weekend.

 

Let us never lose our focus on THEM.  THEY are the reason we come to BHH every day.    During my life, I have been in the presence of Presidents and Senators, Archbishops and Patriarchs, Generals and Admirals.  I have dined with the shakers and movers of the world.  But the words of one person changed my life.  In the midst of all these “power brokers”…one, tiny Albanian nun stood head and shoulders above the rest.  In her halting and accented English, this diminutive force for good spoke more eloquently than any other voice in our lifetime.  “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”  Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

We may not be able to eradicate hunger…but we can feed one hungry person.  We may not be able to eliminate poverty…but we can help one struggling family.  We may not be able to end unemployment…but we can find a job for one worker.  Our success must never be measured in the numbers of people we help…but in the amount of love we show to every soul who enters our doors and thus, our lives.

 

To the entire Boca Helping Hands family, I thank you for all you have done during 2010…and I wish you nothing but joy, health and happiness for the New Year.

 

James S. Gavrilos      

 

James S. Gavrilos

Executive Director

Boca Helping Hands

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