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Local real estate agents unite in work and philanthropy

It's national Random Act of Kindness week! How Guelph’s Here to Help team gives back
GUE Spotlight image_Andra Arnold_Feb 17, 2021

Helping people buy and sell their homes can be an intimate business. Real estate agents get to know people well, meet their families and learn about their lives.

They also forge deep connections with the communities they work in and want to help out wherever they can. 

In Guelph, the Here to Help team is made up of real estate agents Andra Arnold and her husband Kelly Arnold, Aaron Zuccala, Joe MacDowell, Allison DeMontmorency and Jaden Steele and marketing and admin Sierra Rutherford and Jacob Clarke. The group doesn’t just have real estate in common, it has morals and values that align and believes in conducting business by doing the right thing. Each has organizations they love to support in the community. 

Many of Arnold’s own values are inspired by her parents. She feels that helping in the community is something everyone should try to do. 

“One of the things that is imperative for us is that “Here to Help” is like a lifestyle, it’s not just our motto for work,” she says. “We think it’s really important to contribute to the communities that support us.”

She is sponsoring two upcoming events: the first, Coldest Night of the Year, is on Saturday, February 20th. Funds will be raised for Elora House, which provides safe housing and support for women who have been exploited by sex trafficking. Arnold is also the main sponsor for Handbags for Hospice on Thursday, February 25th in support of Hospice Wellington.

Other charities close to Arnold’s heart include Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis (GWWIC), the Guelph Black Heritage Society, the Rotary Club of Guelph, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital and McMaster Children's Hospital

“Anybody I know who is in need or who wants sponsorship, I’m always there to support them and find a way to help them get started,” she says.

Joe MacDowell is a big contributor to Special Olympics Guelph-Wellington. He coaches a Special Olympics soccer team, participated in the Dancing with Easter Seals Stars, and helps out with Big Brothers Big Sisters as well. Right now their team is promoting Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 50/50 draw, which has helped them raise a lot of funds in challenging times.

“A lot of people aren’t having their galas and major fundraisers, so I think it’s really important for people to contribute where they can,” says Arnold. 

Allison DeMontmorency supports and donates to the Guelph Y’s #IAmY Program

Aaron Zuccala is on the Board of Directors at Wyndham House and sponsors Socks for Shelter. He loves to support the local music and art communities. 

The Here to Help team likes to support local artists. When they’re creating promotional materials, for example, they like to commission the talents of local artists—photographers, visual artists, etc. “We put their work out, try to promote them and get them as much exposure as we possibly can,” says Arnold.

Arnold believes in tithing her business, giving away a specific percentage to charities. “Sometimes it is in the form of sponsorships or advertising, whatever helps most to raise awareness,” she says. The Here to Help Team has donated advertising space on to GWWIC to help create awareness around domestic abuse during COVID-19 and to Hospice Wellington to promote their Tree of Remembrance campaign.
The concept of tithing is borrowed from religion, where the recipient of these funds is typically the church. Arnold thinks putting that money out into the community right now when so many people are in need is very important.

During the holidays, Arnold and her team also wrote hundreds of greeting cards for senior residents via Greetings from My Heart. Sharon Wolters started this campaign to send cards with words of love support and encouragement to those in hospitals, senior homes and the community. Visit the Instagram page to see how you can help!

Donate-A-Deal is another great program, a recent initiative spearheaded by the team. Last year, they did this for GWWIC and the Guelph Black Heritage Society. 

“I just think it’s super important for people to give,” says Arnold. “I understand awareness is important. What I find is that a lot of people who are in my position will organize fundraisers—fundraisers are amazing and totally necessary—but if people were donating as well we would not only be able to raise awareness but more actual donations too. We would be getting even more money for these organizations that are in desperate need of help.”

Contribute to the Here to Help team’s Coldest Night of the Year donation page.

Buy tickets for Hospice Wellington’s Handbags for Hospice. You don’t need a ticket to purchase one of their Golden 50/50 tickets and you’ll have the chance to win the Early Bird Prize—the Immerse Package from the Elora Mill Hotel and Spa. The Early Bird draw takes place Friday, February 19th at 5:00 pm.