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Giving Back Club11 November, 2014
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Bitterroot Valley Giving Back Club Organizes One Warm Coat Drive  

BY TRACY WALCZAK
Real Estate Agent with Clearwater Montana Properties, Inc.
Tracy Walczak

Inspriation comes in many forms and through many different messengers - all you need to do is listen and then act upon what you've heard.

Sitting in a monthly meeting of the Missoula Businesswomen's Network, I heard speaker Susan Boelman mention a "Giving Back Club" in Denver she belonged to that focused on a monthly community service project.  A couple months earlier, I had listened to an Active Rain webinar about organzing community events, and the guest speaker real estate agent Greg McDaniel talk about the organization One Warm Coat  whose mission is to promote community-driven coat drives.  

So I contacted Susan, who now lives in the Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana as I do, and together this month we formed the Bitterroot Valley Giving Back Club.  I took the lead to organize our first monthly service project and given the cold winters here in Montana, I chose a much-needed coat drive for our neighbors using the free resources provided by One Warm Coat.

Ten local businesses throughout the Bitterroot Valley (approximately 95 miles and consisting of 8 communities) have agreed to serve as drop off locations for the coats.  Once the coats are collected and sorted, they will be distributed through local non-profit organizations to people in dire need of warm clothing.  As I write this blog, our weather forecast for this week is a high of 32 degrees and a low of -1 degrees.

Utilizing social media, the word is getting out about the coat drive and the local newspapers have agreed to publicize the event.  I sent out an email blast to our local real estate community asking them to donate coats and to also get the word out to their clients and sphere of influence.

As I contemplated the time and commitment I had undertaken to spearhead this coat drive, another inspiration came my way!  I received an email from Sherri Lewis Wood, National Founder + Chair of One Warm Coat in San Francisco, telling me how much she appreciated our efforts and positive energy on behalf of the Bitteroot Valley community.

I encourage you to look around your communities and see how you can help your neighbors by starting your own "Giving Back Club."

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