By David M. Desmarais
By Daniel M. Andrea
By Melissa A Sommer, CFA, CPA
By Jessica Ashley, CPA, MBA
At KLR we like to live by the adage, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
KLR recognizes the importance of not only having, but maintaining strong ties to our communities. Through our volunteer efforts, we have had the opportunity to gain more patience and empathy for our fellow neighbors in need. Through board memberships and participation in various walks, drives and charity events, we have embraced our duty to better the communities where we live and work.
These are only a small sampling of the many volunteer activities that our team participates in over the course of the year:
KLR’s community impact is a firm-wide effort, but we are excited that we had strong, personal connection to two of the organizations we helped this year.
The Potter League for Animals has been serving the needs of animals for more than 75 years. They promote the humane treatment of all animals and provide shelter and care for lost or unwanted critters. Through education and fostering relationships between people and animals, they enhance the animals’ lives and in turn, enrich the human experience.
Similarly, the Animal Rescue League of RI rescues abandoned, abused and surrendered animals and nurtures them to be adopted as pets in loving homes.
When Jamie Hansen, was just three years old, she adopted her first kitten, and she has been committed to animal welfare ever since. As a nonprofit specialist on the KLR audit team, and treasurer of Animal Rescue Rhode Island, Jamie lives a life dedicated to serving the community.
As Jamie says, “Volunteering is not always easy. It can be tiring, stressful and time consuming; however, it’s all worth it when you see that smile on someone’s face when you serve them a meal or the wiggle of the tail from an animal we were able to rescue.
Collectively, the KLR team was able to donate pet supplies for both, the Potter League for Animals and Animal Rescue Rhode Island.
It all started with one random act of kindness. KLR Associate John Roias gave up his lunch to a homeless man in downtown Providence one afternoon. He, along with fellow KLR associate, Luis Olmo then founded ‘Hungry Fridays’ after realizing how many people go without food every day. What started as one act of kindness has transformed into a movement to end hunger. John, Luis and a growing team of volunteers now spend every Thursday night prepping over 150 lunches for the homeless in RI and passing them out during their Friday lunch breaks. KLR had the opportunity to assist John and Luis this year, and helped put together 250 lunches.
As John says, "It's more than just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," he said. "It's giving people hope."
Serving as co-founder of Hungry Fridays, Luis has realized the severity of hunger and poverty in our communities. For Luis, community service has always been a part of his life. Why? It really comes down to the golden rule. As Luis puts it, “I feel it’s the right thing to do as a human being. If you see someone in need, help him/her. After all, you may be in a position where you need their help in the future.” Since its inception Hungry Fridays has made more than 15,000 lunches for the needy.
Community service expands our worldview and helps us gain valuable leadership skills. This fresh perspective allows us to return to our offices with a strengthened passion for what we do every day. We’re proud to STAND together and BUILD together, and we hope that by doing so, we are making the world a better place.
As Luis puts it, “In a world that is unforgiving at times, I am inspired by those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make our communities stronger and healthier.”