Community Partner Brings Holiday Cheer to One Goodwill Family

A standout Goodwill Manasota team member was recently granted a multitude of reasons to celebrate this holiday season as her family was selected to be the beneficiary of the Adams and Reese Sarasota office’s HUGS Program. HUGS stands for Hope, Understanding, Giving and Support, and is the holiday charitable initiative through which the firm donates time, financial resources and assistance to more than 200 organizations throughout its service area.

Goodwill Manasota employee Irma Orona, her mother, Virginia Guerrero (who also works for Goodwill), children and other family members living with her have received items including a Christmas tree and decorations, lots of clothing — including work clothes for Irma and Virginia — plentiful toys for the children, and a generous Publix gift card.

When Irma came to Goodwill nearly seven years ago, she was a single mom who never graduated from high school. Over time, she benefited from Goodwill’s on-the-clock opportunities for classes and training and — while working full-time — earned her high school diploma. She is someone who takes care of others: in addition to her own two children, she and her mother have provided for her two nieces and a nephew after the unexpected death of her brother two years ago.

Irma works at Goodwill’s Corporate Campus as a hanger; in the past, she served as a cashier. She is not a person who asks for help or who complains when things don’t go her way. While she noted that she would have been okay if Adams and Reese had selected another family, she says that she is very thankful that her family will enjoy the bountiful gifts provided. She is a person who cares for others, especially her kids and her family, and she is deeply grateful for all that has been done in order for all in her household to have an exceptional Christmas.

“For nine years, Adams and Reese has proudly partnered with Goodwill Manasota through our HUGS volunteer program to provide holiday gifts and necessities for special families in need,” said Ryan Owen, Sarasota office partner in charge at Adams and Reese. “Our Sarasota team members enjoyed shopping for gifts and seasonal surprises for our family as well as providing them with necessities many of us might take for granted. We are grateful to Goodwill for continuing to provide us with opportunities to reach out into our community and help deserving families to have a truly memorable holiday season.”

“I can say that, as an observer, I have been deeply moved when I have been able to assist with the pick-up from Adams and Reese, just seeing the generous heart of this business and its employees,” said Irma’s GoodPartner coach, Dana Knuuti. “They truly desire to overwhelmingly bless the family they ‘adopt’ and, every year, they have succeeded in doing so. They genuinely care about the people they adopt — people they have never even met. I really do believe they give from their hearts.”

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PHOTO ID: Adams and Reese team members (from l-r) Drew Chesanek, Debbie Woodson, Helen Martin, Tellie Settimi and Ryan Owen with Goodwill team members Virginia Guerrero and Irma Orona

This story originally appeared on Goodwill Manasota’s website. Read the press release.