The holidays are a time for giving, but QA Engineer, Stacy Galarza, doesn’t stop after New Years Day. Stacy is known around the SOLTECH office for asking for donations for a myriad of charities, inviting coworkers to volunteer for a number of non-profits, and collecting clothes, school supplies, and food for those in need, all year ’round!

We are taking a slight detour from our typical SOLTECH Spotlight this week, to shine a light on Stacy’s generosity, her need to give back, and how we can all join her.

What charities do you work with? On an annual basis, I do charity walks and fundraising for MS Society – Georgia chapter, Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, and Parkinson’s Foundation.  I have relatives affected by each of these.  I also try to help local ‘charity’ events that friends may post online. For example, we did a sporadic school supply drive this year to help a family in need and ended up helping 2 families and donating to 2 schools.  I fundraise for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Project Mail Call, and Georgia Special Olympics.  I am also a member of the Atlanta Area Chivers group that supports multiple charities throughout the year.

What makes you want to spend your free time helping others?  – A few years ago I was double hit by a layoff and a medical emergency.  After a year of medical issues, very high medical bills that kept piling up and a year out of work, I was in between a rock and a hard place.  Luckily, I had family and friends to help.  But I realized really quickly that if I didn’t have these people around to help me, I’d be in lots of trouble.  So I started looking at other people, pets, causes that needed my help like I needed others’ help.  I could’ve very quickly been in a bad situation and it can happen that fast to any one of us.  It could be a job loss, medical issue, family loss, natural disaster, etc.

What is the most good you feel you’ve ever done helping a nonprofit organization? I do more by advertising these groups and getting the word out there than I do collecting items by myself.  By using social media, coworkers, and a charity meetup group, I can get more people involved, bring awareness that some of these charities exist and what they are currently doing, encourage other people to also get the word out to their network and help someone find some kind of charity to help that speaks to them.  I use social media to promote events.  It’s very easy to find something small to do that can add up quickly. 

What nonprofits would you suggest Atlantans get involved in this holiday season? 

Hands Across Atlanta This group meets monthly.  They gather items and walk through Atlanta giving out items/food/etc to those in need.   For November, they threw a holiday buffet for the needy downtown. They go out every month and have had events with showers, barbers, etc.  This group is good for families and gets a bigger turnout each & every month.

Atlanta Pie Patrol  They collect store-bought and homemade pies to donate to the Atlant Metro Salvation Army for the annual Thanksgiving Day meal.

Atlanta Community Food Bank The ACFB works with more than 600 nonprofit partners—including food pantries, community kitchens, childcare centers, night shelters and senior centers—to distribute over 60 million meals to more than 755,000 people in 29 counties across metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

Project Mail Call This group puts together and sends care packages to deployed US troops. They meet each Saturday with public and private packing sessions.

 Happy Holidays!