It began in the Spring of 2013 as many great things do, unexpectedly over a quiet lunch between friends. Super volunteer and member of the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board, Marlene Klotz-Collins, was welcoming Joseph and JoAnn Callaway to the organization’s Phoenix Advisory Board. JoAnn told Marlene how dedicated she and Joseph were to the red kettles at Christmas. Marlene explained to JoAnn that Wednesdays were a challenge when getting volunteers. “The Army actually has to hire paid workers to ring bells at many of the kettle locations,” Marlene said. JoAnn immediately volunteered herself and Joseph, and by dessert she had volunteered the whole home ownership industry. After months of planning, more than 1,000 real estate agents, title company officers, lenders, and affiliates came together to ring the bells at more than 180 kettle locations throughout Maricopa County. Real Estate Wednesdays was born.
The effort has three goals:
- To be a part of all that The Salvation Army does and to be part of a greater cause for good. (Doing Good)
- To elevate the public image and perception of our real estate industry as a cooperative and caring group. (Get Involved)
- To connect and reconnect with clients and the community we serve. (Involve Clients)
How it works:
An unexpected difference is best summed up in an e-mail from Old Republic Title Officer Alison Hudgins:
“I am so personally touched by my experience that I will never allow another Christmas to go by without ringing.”
The first Wednesday went off without a single complaint. 1196 home ownership industry volunteers rang the bells. In addition to the more than $114,000 raised by the home ownership industry and the $85,000 in saved expenses, the awareness of the Army was heightened, companies and families began new traditions, and there was tremendous cost savings to the Army because it was an all-volunteer effort.
In 2015, more than 2400 home ownership industry volunteers raised more than $201,000 for The Army along with the savings from not having to hire paid workers.
For 2016, there are four Wednesdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas and expectations are for a substantial increase.
It is our hope to volunteer the entire home ownership industry nationwide. If you would like more information or you would like to spearhead the effort in your area, please call JoAnn Callaway at 480-596-5751 (Contact Us).