At Ameriprise, service includes giving to D/SAOC

The front counter at the Ameriprise Financial Services offices in Fort Dodge is usually an uncluttered space, easy to see over.

Friday afternoon, it was loaded with food items donated by employees, customers and members of the community.

About 25 employees made short work of putting that food into bags and taking it to its destination – the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center in Fort Dodge.

Cierra Walding, a financial adviser for Ameriprise and a D/SAOC board member, organized the effort as part of the company’s National Day of Service.

She said it’s all needed.

“Their reach is much bigger,” she said, referring to D/SAOC. “They have a hard time meeting their needs.”

In addition to the food items, Ameriprise employees donated $1,000, a sum matched by the company. The $2,000 will also be donated to D/SAOC.

Walding said the company encourages service to the community.

“We try very hard to get involved,” she said.

Connie Harris, D/SAOC executive director, was happy to see the donations.

“It’s just wonderful,” she said.

D/SAOC focuses on getting victims back into the community and back on their feet.

“We need food and clothes,” Harris said, “all of the things anyone would use to start over.”

For example, gas cards can help D/SAOC’s clients get to job interviews and work. Monetary donations can help clients replace crucial personal documents, such as birth certificates and drivers licenses.

“Sometimes they flee with nothing,” Harris explained.

Carla Shimon, with D/SAOC, and Kay Grady, a client service coordinator with Ameriprise, were responsible for the last step of preparing the food bags Friday – tying a ribbon to the handles.

“It takes a lot of talent,” they joked.

They were happy to help and Shimon was grateful for the donation.

“This is a great day for D/SAOC,” she said.

The donated food filled about 75 bags, and there were several cases of canned goods left over for the D/SAOC pantry. Getting the donated items to the shelter provided Walding with a bonus – getting her office back

“I had no room to work,” she said. “That was an awesome thing.”