By: Joey Henderson, GTR Director of Public Affairs
Before COVID-19, the members of the Greater Tampa REALTORS® (GTR) Community Outreach Committee, anxiously looked forward to advancing the Association’s mark of participating in the community and neighborhood events. The establishment of community outreach helped to further formalize the association’s effort to support the community.
The committee was on its way by participating in its first event, the City of Tampa’s Community Resource Fair at Jefferson high school. With successful community exposure, a few minutes of radio airtime and engaging potential homebuyers, committee members unanimously voted to participate in the city’s quarterly event.
Unfortunately, like so many events, COVID-19 canceled the three remaining quarterly resource fairs. One would think the pandemic would have ended charge for GTR‘s Community Outreach Committee. On the contrary, Community Outreach was able to pivot in the face of uncertainty to rise up to its motto of REALTORS® doing good in the community.
With encouragement and support from 2020 President Darlene Davenport, Chairman John Daux and Vice Chair Kieanna Carty, the committee marched on to lead GTR in accomplishing some new outreach ventures. During the pandemic the Community Outreach Committee was the title sponsor for Hillsborough County’s Habitat for Humanity’s first Real Estate Build where GTR members participated in a parade of cars celebrating the sweat equity accomplishment of the Barnes and other Habitat families. With the pandemic disrupting the good works of organizations like Metropolitan Ministries and Everyday Blessings, GTR lead the way to collect 2,000 pounds of food and supplies and collected over $7,000 in funds for both organizations.
In the last quarter of 2020, with the help of our colleagues from the Real Estate for All Alliance and friends, the committee raised over $3,400 for the American Heart Association (AHA). Also to support the virtual Heart Walk, several members of team Greater Tampa REALTORS® & Family! gathered at GTR the morning of Saturday, November 14 to make a 5.2-mile round trip trek from GTR to Bayshore. Properly masked and social distanced, the team enjoyed the brisk walk, sharing stories, waving to passers- by and posting photos to AHA’s Heart Walk social media.
Four days later on Wednesday November 18, with the help of the National Association of REALTOR®’s (NAR) $3,000 Community Rebuilding Grant, 25 GTR members assisted employees of Hillsborough County’s Parks and Recreation Department with the revitalization of Northlakes Park. In collaboration with members of GTR’s Board of Directors executive team, Governmental Affairs and REALTOR® Party Committees, members of Community Outreach sanitized the concession stand, laid mulch installed plants and a variety of trees for the park, which had suffered from vandalism and arson.
In addition to participating in a food and supply drive for ECHO and a gift card toy drive for Voices for Children (in partnership with GTR’s Young Professionals Network), to complete this year of outreach, committee members will conclude the year by volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent food distribution on Friday, Dec. 11. With masks and gloves on, GTR members will place groceries in the trunk of cars of appreciative families in need.
Led by the Community Outreach Committee, GTR was able to safely serve others despite this challenging year. To summarize GTR’s call for “boots on the ground,” Chairman John Daux stated, “My favorite experience as the leader of the Community Outreach Committee is working with the committee members and GTR staff to reach our goals of giving back to our community and creating a strong presence for our association. It was such a pleasure working with a group of folks that are selfless and passionate towards the cause. With the pandemic we could have easily rolled over, but this team was innovative and found ways to make our presence felt in the community with a combination of virtual, boots on the ground and fundraising events. This is a group of true servant leaders!”