As many of you know, I wear two Grimes organizational hats: president of Grimes Chamber and Economic Development (GCED) and president of Grimes Volunteer Support Services (GVSS). This marks the fourth year that GVSS volunteers have attempted to visit every business in Grimes. I say attempted because at some of the locations we didn’t find anyone present when we visited. We do this not to ask for funds or financial support but to share with businesses what GVSS provides without charge to the residents in need in our community.
Sometimes folks in general feel all businesses want to do is make a profit. Our experience is much different from that perception. We have found businesses to be interested and willing to share our story with their employees, families, friends, customers and the community. Nearly 50 businesses in Grimes host one of our brochure holders so their customers have constant access to the basic information about our services. Community Greetings gives a brochure to every family that moves to Grimes, and more than 20 businesses are sponsors of GVSS.
Since our first year of being an organization, GVSS has been an active member of GCED. We have been sponsors for some events, provided volunteers for some events and have been a regular attendee for monthly Lunch and Learn luncheons and B.I.G. events. We have tried to give back to the organization and our community. This has paid big dividends for us. It has given us access to businesses in a different role that most organizations like ours don’t always achieve. We have seriously tried to be a good corporate citizen of the community and other businesses have responded very well.
While the vast majority of businesses are pleased with our visit, some are a bit suspicious when we arrive. Many wonder what we’re trying to sell. Our primary goal is to provide information. A couple of years ago another volunteer and I entered a local business and asked if we could have five minutes to share with them what GVSS did. We were told no, so we left. That’s only happened to me that once. Almost all are attentive, ask questions and are pleased that such a service is available in our community without charge. In fact, last year two of our volunteers entered a business and asked if they could have five minutes to share about what we do. Sure, so they sat down with the owner. After three or four minutes the owner yelled a one of his employees, “Hey, Joe, come in here and write these guys a check for $500.” True story.
Look for us, we’re coming.