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December 6th, 2016

Mayo Staff Carry out Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

By In the Loop

When Danielle Teal received a phone call from a friend asking if she could help him distribute 12 whole turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving, she knew just what to do.

Two days before Thanksgiving, Danielle Teal received a phone call. A friend, in a somewhat excited tone, had called to say that he’d just bought 12 turkeys from a local grocery store and was wondering if Danielle and the Random Acts of Kindness group she heads could help him find homes for them.

When she got home that day, Danielle, a senior digital production specialist at Mayo Clinic, tells us the first thing she did was reach out to organizations in Rochester “that I know work with families who are low-income, homeless or in transitional housing.” Her contacts put her in touch with a few families in need of turkeys. But by the end of the night, eight turkeys remained. So early the next morning, Danielle emailed the Homeless Community Network of Olmsted County. She also put a call out on social media for volunteers to help deliver the remaining birds.

When Danielle opened her email later that morning, the responses she’d received made it clear that the local demand far exceeded her remaining supply. “But I wasn’t going to turn these additional families away,” she says. “We were going to get turkeys for them.”

And she did that, KIMT.com and others report, by putting out another call to the members of her Random Acts of Kindness Facebook group. “Within 24 hours,” KIMT.com reports, “more than 50 people” had come together to make sure that another 34 families throughout the community had everything they needed for a Thanksgiving meal.

For two Mayo folks (and turkey delivery volunteers), Tracey Wozniak Rutherford and Ahmed Ragab, it was an experience that may have meant more to them than it did to those on the receiving end of their kindness. “It was pretty awesome,” Ahmed tells us. “The first family I delivered to, the husband met me outside to thank me. He told me his family wouldn’t have been able to afford a turkey for Thanksgiving this year if it wasn’t for us. In all honesty, that made my year.”

Tracey tells us the “small part” she played in delivering the Thanksgiving turkeys was her way of giving back. “There have been times in my life where I’ve had to reach out for help, too,” she says. “And now that I’m in a position to be able to help others who are in those same kinds of situations, that’s something that I want to do as much as I can.”

Danielle tells us her Random Acts of Kindness group also plans to deliver turkeys to families in need during the upcoming Christmas holiday. If you’d like to donate or deliver a turkey, you can follow the group’s Facebook page for more information or contact Danielle directly.

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Tags: Community, Danielle Teal, Employee Stories

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