The Green Angels concept was developed by my wife Marya and I during 2007. We had become inspired by the stories of a local social worker who had helped our youngest son with speech therapy. She had no shortage of anecdotes regarding the ever increasingly difficult conditions hard working families were facing in our county. We learned how folks in this profession often buy toys, books and clothes at garage sales out of their own pockets to help the children they serve. The impression on us was everlasting and our desire intensified to give back to our community in a different way.
We spent lots of time debating ways we could help people on a wider scale. Meanwhile, our basement was filling up with toys our kids had outgrown and our attic was overflowing with clothes in plastic bins. While picking up a few names for a holiday angel tree, the idea struck. We could have a toy drive for the Holidays and collect gently used items from our friends who also had basements full of lightly used items. It seemed like the perfect idea, especially since it didn’t require asking people to give cash. Our philosophy was that most people really want to give to their community in a bigger way, but they don’t always have the resources to do so financially. The toy drive began to feel like a true “win-win”. People would have a dual sense of accomplishment. Parents could directly help children in need, by recycling the items their own kids no longer used. “The Green Angels” were born and we began creating a plan that went beyond friends and family. We felt our idea was compelling enough to ask grocery stores, libraries, town halls and schools for their support.
Then in early 2008, I earned a modest bonus at work. It was the perfect opportunity to pay our good fortune forward and try to get this idea off the ground. We had enough to invest in a website, file The Green Angels business license and pay the estimated $500 in fees required to apply for 501c3 Charitable Organization status (so contributions could be tax deductions for our donors). In December 2008, we held our first Green Angels Holiday “Free-Cycle”, and served about 70 people. Our program has grown exponentially to include daily deliveries to families in need around Wayne County who are referred to us by local organizations, schools and social workers. We have earned grants from local organizations such as the Bullis Fund and Wayne County Community Endowment of the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
In 2011, we proudly received our first national recognition and a $ 5,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation in their first charitable Facebook initiative called, “The 12 Days of Giving”. Wal-Mart’s call for nominations for its “12 Days of Giving” campaign resulted in more than 5,400 nominations from Facebook users who shared photos and short descriptions of a nonprofit’s impact in its local community. A panel from the Wal-Mart Foundation reviewed submissions and selected nonprofits with a focus on organizations that are providing basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and baby supplies. The Green Angels was selected in the “Providing a Brighter Future” category and was one of only six nonprofits in NY State to earn this award! The Wal-Mart funds, a Bullis Fund grant and a private donation (a match of the Wal-Mart grant) have allowed us to invest in a delivery van to meet the ever present need of families in our community.
Indeed, the future is bright. We will continue to expand and achieve our vision to give hope to the hard working families in our area who struggle each day to provide a comfortable life for their children. We are now serving multiple families in need every day through the good work of volunteers and our strong supporters in the community. Our Annual Holiday “Free-Cycle” program now hosts approximately 500 people in one event, representing hundreds of kids being helped during the Holidays.
The Green Angels stand for “Giving Forward and Back”, teaching our children the value of community service and treating our clients with world class dignity.
We believe in the great people of our community and bear witness every day to the sincere gratitude of the families we serve with your help.
Bill Doyle, Co-Founder of The Green Angels