Not even Mother Nature could stop Mary Calandriello from donating her time to a good cause. Despite an extreme heat alert, relentless rain showers and a 45-minute-long lightning storm, Calandriello spent five days living in a tent to help raise funds for a local Niagara-based charity.
Calandriello, a financial service advisor at Meridian’s Lake Street branch in St. Catharines, along with 11 other local women, camped out in Niagara Fall’s Oakes Park for the Women Who Care for Project SHARE fundraiser. The event raised $155,000 for Project SHARE, a Niagara Fall’s non-profit agency that helps residents living on or below the poverty line.
“I truly didn’t know what to expect when I first got there,” said Calandriello. “But it was truly a wonderful and inspiring experience to see an entire community come together to help support each other. Mother Nature may have made the conditions challenging but it’s an experience I’ll never forget.”
Calandriello’s participation was made possible in part through Meridian’s employee volunteer policy which provides employees with three wellness days per year to use for volunteering activities. In 2010 alone, Meridian employees donated more than 10,000 hours of their personal time to help support community charities and causes.
“I can’t think of any other employer who is as supportive and passionate about community involvement and volunteerism,” added Calandriello.
Asked if she would participate again next year for the second annual Women Who Care for Project SHARE fundraising event, Calandriello doesn’t hesitate before responding with a firm yes.