During the week of Thanksgiving, employees of BARR Credit Services will be heading over to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church to begin preparation for one enormous Thanksgiving dinner. They will be preparing 250 turkeys, 500 pounds of stuffing, 50 pounds of stock for gravy, 75 pounds of mashed potatoes, 140 pounds of vegetables, and more than 600 pies.
Then, as Christmas approaches, they’re off to the Tucson Convention Center to help the Salvation Army prepare another holiday dinner. After that, they will help with a few fund-raising projects until April. That’s when the BARR Credit staff start preparing 50 Easter baskets and 500 cupcakes for the annual Salvation Army Easter .
And that’s not all. With the beginning of each new school year in July, multiple BARR employees sign up for the Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Child Spree, to benefit needy children with donations of new shoes and clothing for the upcoming school year. Then, of course, when November rolls around, they begin again with the Thanksgiving and holiday preparations.
But how did all of this volunteerism by BARR Credit staff members begin in the first place?
Eighteen years ago, BARR Credit Services founder Randy Frazee resolved that he would expose his children to the everyday hardships experienced by so many others. He and his family began volunteering at Casa Maria, a local soup kitchen, on the weekends they then began delivering Meals on Wheels to those who couldn’t buy groceries for themselves.
It wasn’t long before Randy’s volunteer spirit extended to his employees. Throughout the last 18 years, they have worked hand-in-hand with the Salvation Army to make sure that those who need a little extra help in southern Arizona have somewhere to go.
The corporate culture at BARR Credit Services highly encourages volunteerism and giving back to the community. According to company COO George Kern, “The chance to serve others in our community is a wonderful gift. To be able to do this through the Salvation Army events is enjoyable…They make the environment safe for all volunteers and they are filled with encouragement as well. I encourage people to find the time to attend events sponsored by the Salvation Army.”
Other staff members echo those sentiments. Staff member Alisa Hayward recently stated, “Volunteering makes us realize what is truly important in life: kindness. A simple gesture can really make a big difference in someone’s day. By taking the time to care about people and helping when we can, we can come together and be stronger as a community.”
As someone who has been on the receiving end of Salvation Army donations, staff member Hector Haro speaks from the heart: “Growing up I had very little and sometimes nothing at all. If it wasn’t for the big hearts at the Salvation Army, I don’t know if I would have made it to see my 18th birthday, let alone become a great father to a beautiful little girl. It is my honor to be able to give back to the Salvation Army and do my part to help someone.”
That pretty much says it all.