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Discover Goodwill’s LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program) is dedicated to helping economically-challenged residents keep the heat on during the cold winter months. Over the holidays, however, LEAP’s 100-plus “LEAP helpers” spread even more goodwill via a donation drive benefitting the Toys for Tots organization.

LEAP employees went above and beyond to coordinate the two-week toy drive—decorating large donation bins with festive illustrations and inviting all Discover Goodwill employees to contribute to their cause by bringing in new and unwrapped toys. On December 14, LEAP staff proudly presented nearly 500 toys to representatives at Holiday Village during a campaign-end reception and celebration—ensuring that hundreds of disadvantaged children would have gifts to unwrap and enjoy over the holidays!

Among LEAP’s many participants was Milly, a mother with three children who knows, first-hand, what it’s like to be in need. Just five years ago, Milly and her children were nearly homeless and penniless. After applying for financial assistance with El Paso County Department of Human Services, Milly was enrolled in Discover Goodwill’s job training and placement program, and received a volunteer assignment providing administrative support for the organization’s Your Life Your Way program.

Milly eventually applied and was hired as a LEAP eligibility specialist, helping process and approve client applications for heating assistance. Moreover, Milly quickly and profoundly embraced Discover Goodwill’s mission to help others become more independent. One phone conversation with a LEAP applicant made an especially big impact on Milly—another mother of three who was having great difficulties providing for her family and whose utilities had been turned off because she couldn’t afford to pay her bill. The distraught mother’s only expressed wish was for her family to stay warm in their home during the cold Colorado winter.

Milly “took her work home with her” the same evening and shared her work conversation with her children at the dinner table. After listening intently to their mother’s story, the children unexpectedly exclaimed that they wanted their Christmas gifts to go to children like the ones Milly spoke about rather than getting presents of their own … and that’s exactly what they did! Among the bins-full of donations to Toys for Tots were dozens of toys purchased on behalf of Milly’s children, in place of their own Christmas celebration.

Team LEAP—including Milly and her children—not only believe in Discover Goodwill’s mission, they are true practitioners of our mission. Thank you one and all for your selfless and life-changing service!

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