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Nov. 16, 2022

Paralegals Make an Impact Through Community Service Projects

From helping the homeless and our four-legged friends, from collecting diapers to stuffing backpacks with school supplies, from clothing vulnerable children to supporting women battling cancer, Nelson Mullins paralegals rose to the challenge this year of collectively making a difference in their communities.

The impact of their efforts goes without saying, and the importance of this work was not lost on each of those participating. “In our day-to-day routine between work, home, family, sometimes we forget about others less fortunate who struggle with essentials such as putting food on their table,” West Palm Beach paralegal Frances Staveley said. “This was a great opportunity to lend a hand that benefited others not as fortunate.”

These are their projects:

Atlanta: Paralegals stuffed backpacks with school supplies for H.E.R.O. for children, an organization that seeks to provide quality of life enrichment to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The paralegals gathered $3,000 in school supplies for the children. “The majority of the children they help live below the poverty line, often change schools more than once a year, and contact H.E.R.O. for help during the school year. The group was excited to receive the supplies,” said paralegal coordinator Maria Turner.

Baltimore: Paralegals hosted a diaper drive that benefitted a local nonprofit, Sharebaby, which delivers diapers to more than 15,000 of Baltimore’s most vulnerable children each month. “We wanted our reach to impact our community here in Baltimore city,” said paralegal Lia Dimas. “It was important to us to expand the service project to include not only the Baltimore paralegals, but the entire Baltimore office. Unity in our efforts to impact our community was our goal, and by collecting more than 3,000 diapers in just a few weeks, we succeeded in doing just that.”

Boca/Palm Beach/West Palm Beach: During a real estate teams meeting, West Palm Beach paralegal Frances Staveley learned that the Palm Beach County Community Food Bank was the chosen charity in the Boca Raton office. She suggested that their office along with the Palm Beach office join their efforts, and the donations began to roll in. The three offices collected more than 1,100 pounds of food and some cash that provided help to a great cause.

Dallas: The Dallas team, all animal lovers, chose the SPCA of Texas and Rescue Row, a 501(c)3 nonprofit all volunteer dog rescue organization dedicated to rescuing dogs in shelters, dogs in abusive or neglectful situations, and dogs surrendered by their owners because of difficult circumstances. “Some of us have gotten dogs from the SPCA, and this is a small way of giving back to them for the fabulous family members we’ve gained,” said paralegal Kathy Gatzemeyer. “We collected money and a few items (pee pads, bed, canned food).” Kathy’s own rescue “kids,” Maggie and Kaiser, came from the group. “They crack us up on a daily basis – can’t imagine life without them!”

Greenville: Paralegals chose Lucky Pup Rescue, a 501c3 nonprofit, foster-based dog rescue that has seen a recent influx of rescues from puppy mills. A call for shelter items went out, and a flood of items including crates, bedding, blankets, food and water bowls, pee pads, and leashes came in. “It was amazing,” paralegal Mary Campbell said. “I received something from almost everyone in our office. When the charity picked up the items, we almost ran out of space in her SUV.” 

Huntington: The Huntington office paralegals decided to support the United Way of the River Cities, where partner Randy Saunders serves as president of the organization. “We committed to supplying two brown bag meals per week for the Community Givebox Program for the last quarter of 2022,” said paralegal coordinator Anna Johnson. “This program is a true boots-on-the-ground community outreach with a covered donation box located outside the United Way building. It is accessible to the public day or night, providing a meal, bottled water, toiletries, and personal care items for those in need.” The paralegals collected monetary and food donations throughout the month of September and assembled 62 brown bag meals to be distributed in the month of October.

“The entire Huntington office supported this project, and because of their generosity, food items have already been purchased to fulfill this commitment throughout November and December. And because of this support, we are not only able to fulfill the commitment, but will have funds remaining that will allow us to either purchase additional food in excess of two meal bags per week or to purchase cold weather supplies, personal hygiene items, etc. for the month of December,” Anna said. “We will work with the United Way to determine how best to utilize those funds.

“We’re proud to partner with the United Way of the River Cities on a project that has such a direct and immediate impact on those in our community who need it,” she added.

Minneapolis: Paralegals chose to support Bridging, an organization that creates a bridge between those with excess and those in need by offering furniture and household goods to those facing housing insecurity. “This organization is particularly relevant in our community because recently the issues of homelessness and housing insecurity have made headlines with encampments popping up in an attempt to mitigate Covid-19 measures and the unrest after the murder of George Floyd,” noted paralegal Keith Connett. “Bridging has served over 300,000 people since it began, and we connect with their values of dignity, service, stewardship, and gratitude. We are grateful that we were given the opportunity to spend our time serving this organization.”

Raleigh: Paralegals chose “1 of Us” as their community service project and raised more than $950 in cash contributions and gift cards. The organization provides services to women undergoing cancer treatments. 

1 of Us was born in Raleigh in 2010 as 1 in 9 to provide financial support to women undergoing breast cancer treatment. After assisting nearly 1,000 patients, the mission expanded to also assist women being treated for all gynecological cancers. 1 of Us partners with UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, Rex Hospital in Raleigh, and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville to reach these patients and continues to provide support through the generosity of local businesses and individual donors. The group provides services such as transportation to medical appointments, gasoline assistance, prescription co-pays, groceries, household necessities, and assistance with utility bills, rent, or mortgage.

“Each of us has been touched in some way by these cancers — either personally, through a family member, or through a friend,” noted senior paralegal Amy Hill. “Helping our community truly helps each of us by extending a helping hand to let women battling these diseases know that they are ‘one of us.’ ”

Other community service projects included:

Myrtle Beach: Help 4 Kids is a local organization that helps the most vulnerable children of Horry County stay happy, healthy, and fed. Paralegals organized the collection of needed items, including coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.

Charleston: Paralegals worked for Neighbors Together, stuffing toiletry and first aid kit bags to be disbursed to the local homeless community.

Columbia: Paralegals contributed to a successful collection of toiletries for The Women’s Shelter.

Miami: Miami paralegals made a monetary contribution to Camillus House, which provides compassionate care to individuals and families impacted by homelessness, hunger, poverty, and substance abuse.