Brokers are using their downtime this summer to fill the coffers of charitable organizations and increase the profile of the broker channel.
Giving back to the community and to those less fortunate speaks as loudly as quality customer service – and for one Ontario-based brokerage, it has become as synonymous with their brand.
For Peter House of The House Team - Mortgage Intelligence
in Belleville, Ont., fund raising has been a part of his DNA for many years.
“I’ve been a mortgage agent now for 22 years, and we’ve done a charity golf tournament for 15 of those years,” says House, “and we’ve raised money for the Belleville Christmas Sharing Program.”
That fundraiser came to an end in 2008, when the mortgage industry took a hit along with the rest of the financial community, as House saw that it wasn’t an appropriate time to go out and solicit funds from those who were struggling just to make ends meet.
That instinct to give back is what brought the golf tournament back to life in 2013.
“A good friend of mine who had been going to Haiti for a number of years, and I approached him to see if I could go down on a mission trip with him,” says House. “In November of that year, four of us hopped on a plane and spent eight days in Haiti.”
For House, it was a real eye-opener.
“They have nothing, and they are the happiest people in the world,” he says. “We have everything, and we’re among the most miserable people in the world. I’ll never complain about a pot hole in a road in Canada ever again, or about hydro.”
The average wage in Haiti is $1.50 or $2 a day, House told MortgageBrokerNews.ca
, and electricity costs for an average home is $60 a month.
“So you would be working just to put hydro in your home,” he says.
The goal when House went down on that first trip was to work with orphanages, and it was working with Gleaners International of Canada that the seed of an idea to donate food was planted – as the one stumbling block that charitable organization faced was the cost of bringing food to those in need in Haiti.
“When I came back, the first thing I thought was, ‘I can bring my golf tournament back, and we can raise money for Haiti.’ And that is what we did, and we raised enough money at the tournament to send almost a half million servings of food in a container to Haiti.”
The servings of food are designed specifically for the orphanages, and consist of a dry soup or stew mix that can be reconstituted on site with water – with dumplings added sometimes by the Haitians to provide more body, says House.
“But for a lot of these kids, that is the only meal that they will get that day is this bowl of stew,” he says. “It makes you realize just how fortunate we are – and how much of a difference nutrition-wise we are making for the kids.”
This year’s golf tournament for Haiti Relief is on August 11 at the Trillium Wood Golf Club just north of Belleville, Ont.