Last weekend, my family and I rolled out of our warm beds and our warm home to be greeted by a brisk 31-degree breeze, along with a beautiful sunrise. We drove to Rice Park in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, where we met several of my 3M executive assistant colleagues, their family members and friends.
Many years ago, my family turned to several United Way agencies in a time of crisis, so we know firsthand that the need for help is far-reaching and can take many forms. The form it took on this cool and crisp Minnesota morning was warmth: Within just a few minutes, we started hanging 101 scarves, 58 hats and 38 pairs of gloves on trees, park benches and light posts – to help add just a bit of warmth to those that are homeless.
We were piggy-backing on information I had come across on social media earlier in the year, where I read that three organizations had started this movement across various cities throughout the country: Scarves on Trees, Chase the Chill and Wrapped in Warmth.
Our team of executive assistants and support staff members focused on United Way volunteer projects throughout 2015, specific to hunger and homelessness in St. Paul, and all led by our team member, Jennifer Wetzel. Saturday’s disbursement in Rice Park was a culmination of our last project: to collect and distribute those new, winter outerwear accessories. Many of our colleagues actually handmade their donations (confession here … I am not crafty)!
I have always been tremendously proud that 3M partners with the Greater Twin Cities United Way to help those in need. I am also proud of this team of executive assistants and support staff members. To witness several homeless community members untie one of our scarves and put it on, and see a faint smile appear at the same time, was another, beautiful way to give back to an organization that helped me and my family.
On the way home, my 16-year-old paused before putting his earbuds in to say, “Thanks, Mom – that was cool to be part of that.” Yes, it really was!