Running a successful local digital agency is only part of Lysa Miller’s quest in life. She also wants to give back to the community that has embraced her over the years. That’s why she’s so passionate about local charities like Fresh Start Furniture Bank in Hudson. They collect donations of furniture and home goods from the public, then distribute them, for free, to people in need who have been vetted by a non-profit agency.
Giving back is one thing: making it a regular endeavor is another. And Lysa knows there’s strength in numbers. That’s why this CEO and founder of Ladybugz Interactive, a growing local digital agency challenged her clients, partners, and friends to help her raise money for FSFB. It came as no surprise that many of them accepted the challenge wholeheartedly and answered the call: together, Ladybugz and her partners, clients, and friends donated more than $3,000, with a private donor that matched the amount.
Inspiration drives action for a local business owner and her friends
She knew she could count on her circle to support a charity that she holds near and dear to her heart. Her partnership with Fresh Start goes back a few years. After meeting the director at a women’s event five years ago, Lysa – who was subsequently voted onto their board of directors – now volunteers there regularly, manages their social media, and leads fundraising efforts in the community.
She was humbled by the people, down on their luck, who showed up at Fresh Start looking for — just that– a fresh start. Inspired by their gratefulness as well as the selflessness portrayed by the volunteers who devote more than 16,000 hours of service each year, Lysa knew there was one small thing she could do to help: raise money to keep fueling this endeavor.
“Realizing how lucky I am with the life I have, giving back to those people and specifically knowing the costs of the organization and where they spend money, was another reason to give to the cause,” she said.
Fresh Start only has one employee and is run mainly by volunteers who have helped 3,000 families (and counting!) turn empty spaces into homes. In turn, this has kept more than 130,000 items out of the waste stream, which is a win-win for the organization and the environment.
Volunteering has made such a difference to this local digital agency owner
Lysa herself started volunteering for FSFB a few years ago and hasn’t looked back. “It’s changed my life in a lot of ways,” she said. “It reconnects you, it grounds you.” Many of the families that reach out for help from Fresh Start want to make a better life for themselves. They may have lost their way, but they are committed to getting back on the right path. They just need a little push and are grateful for the opportunity they have been given.
Volunteering regularly at Fresh Start has shown Lysa the progression of these families from downtrodden to hopeful as they embrace the gift they’ve been given. “Everybody is so proud to be where they are,” she says. Their stories really hit home with her and make her realize just how fortunate she’s been.
The stories of real local people coming out of homelessness
There’s the dad who just got out of jail and needs to make a comfortable and safe home for his kids. There’s the family that suffered a flood in their home, and with autistic children to look after, the need for immediate assistance was compounded. There are veterans, women with special needs, domestic violence victims, and so many more who just need a break so they can get back on their feet.
Fresh Start is there for all of them, as much as they can. With so many local families in need and so little money to help them, any fundraising and volunteering efforts that can be done are critical to the mission of the organization. Much of the money Fresh Start raises comes from donations for clients. The rest comes from state grant money. All money from their operations is poured right back into the specific needs they have.
Answering the call for support in a time of need
When the local digital agency owner put out the call for help to her clients, partners, freelancers, and friends, they answered in force. She was blown away by the generosity of the agency’s network.
Meet the local clients and partners of our digital agency who stepped up to help out with FSFB’s annual campaign.
A local medical practice that helps women with hair loss in Boston, Worcester, Westchester and NYC
Michael DiStefano of Medi Tresse heard the call loud and clear, and decided to jump in and raise awareness in Worcester County. Medi Tresse, top local experts in female hair loss, had been a client of the local digital agency for six months when he heard about the charge Lysa Miller was leading in the community.
“When Lysa is passionate about something, it definitely shows, and it was clear that she was passionate about Fresh Start,” says Michael. “So when she reached out, I knew I needed to look into the organization a bit more.”
Medi Tresse has a long history of giving back. “At our practice, we have a number of young cancer patients that we offer pro bono services to,” he continues. “For many patients, they tell us that while they are grateful to have survived their cancer diagnosis, the hair loss is a reminder of everything they went through. While hair loss post chemo or radiation can be devastating for anyone, it is especially true for children.”
A female and immigrant-owned roofing company in Hudson MA
Golden Group Roofing in Hudson also stepped up to donate to Fresh Start Furniture Bank. CEO and founder Greta Bajrami places a high priority on community collaboration and support – the same community that welcomed her with open arms. Her company recently joined the Hudson Business Association to further root themselves in the community.
“It’s human instinct to support and connect with people that we care about and like,” says Greta. It is this basic sense of support that led to success within her company as well as an extension of it throughout the community to charities like Fresh Start. Golden Group Roofing is no stranger to giving. They have been building new roofs on homes for Habitat For Humanity, a non-profit organization that helps provide affordable housing in an effort to build strong and stable communities.
A family-owned automotive company that cares
So many other clients and partners who donated to Fresh Start have a history of giving back in other ways. BDR Automotive in Holliston runs a Toys For Tots drive every Christmas.
Union Installations has been known to pitch in at the Salvation Army’s food bank in Tewksbury.
The desire to help is strong for many local businesses. Here’s a look at all the clients and partner agencies that helped.
Also, we wanted to give a shout-out to our awesome local bank who also stepped up when we asked for a donation: Main St. Bank.
We encourage you to volunteer or donate to Fresh Start Furniture Bank if you can. You don’t have to be a business owner to do it! Fresh Start Furniture Bank has many volunteer opportunities to take part in, from furniture repair and sorting to fundraising and public relations. Contact our local digital agency if you are interested in volunteering on FSFB’s marketing.
If you or someone you know needs help with donations of furniture or household goods, you can start by getting a referral. Call Fresh Start Furniture Bank to learn more. Fresh Start works with several local agencies in Worcester, from Channing House to Youville House.