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Volunteer Superheroes: Heather pays it forward for FSS of MFSD

Heather Booton has been a volunteer with Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services since 2001. She has served on the Gala Committee, is instrumental in organizing and facilitating the Holiday Shoppe, is 40-hour trained, and she’s involved in FSS of MFSD’s Moms & Kids Program and the Children’s Program.

When her company, Million Dollar Round Table, encouraged its employees to think about how they can help those who are suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic, Heather took her support for FSS of MFSD a step further to support not only our shelter, but also local businesses.

Heather shares her story:

“The global pandemic and recession have been hard on everyone. Luckily my company, MDRT, has been mostly untouched by current global events, except for a rapid move to have everyone work from home. In one of his daily messages to the company, our CEO, Steve Stahr, sent the employees this video and encouraged us to think about what was our chocolate, or how could we help people in these difficult times, when it seems like everyone was suffering.

The next day, Steve followed up the video with a $100 gift card. The assignment was simple. We were to pass along the $100 gift card to help someone who had been affected by the crisis. He wanted them to know that MDRT cared and was thinking about them during this difficult time.

While my family and friends had been weathering the crisis well, something Steve said about wanting people to know we care stuck with me.

For the past 19 years I’ve volunteered at Family Shelter Service, and I’ve seen firsthand the transformative power that a caring act can have. I knew that while the $100 would help the organization, I wanted to have a bigger and more meaningful impact.

As I looked around my neighborhood at all the local small businesses that were hurting from the forced shutdown, a plan began to form: I would buy something from a local small business and donate it directly to the clients at the shelter. I settled on buying a meal from a local restaurant and delivering it to the clients.

I knew that the $100 gift card wouldn’t buy much, so I reached out to friends on Facebook, thinking that if I could scrape together a couple hundred more, I could supplement the funds enough with my own money to make my plan work without breaking the bank.

As the donations came in, I was moved to tears by the generosity of my friends. They were all so excited to help and pass along their own “chocolate.” Several had been looking for somewhere to donate part of their stimulus checks. I raised enough not only to cover the meal the first week, but also some treats from a local bakery.

I still had funds left over, so I came back the following week with a meal from a different local restaurant, cupcakes from another bakery, masks from a local boutique shop, and books (including adult coloring books) from an independent bookstore.

The initial $100 gift card had been transformed into over $2000 of business for local small businesses and a delivery of much-needed items for clients at the shelter.

I’m really grateful to Family Shelter Service for working with me on this “chocolate project” and helping me make a difference in the local community. This has been a great and heartwarming opportunity, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to share the story of the assignment with the small businesses who have been helped by it.”