A Passion for Helping Others
Crystal Butts clearly remembers struggling to make ends meet when she was a single mom raising her young daughter. “We didn’t have family here, and it was tough sometimes,” she recalled. “I turned to different programs for help, and that support enabled me to continue on the path that got me to where I am today.”
Crystal has worked as an administrative assistant to the sales team at TD Ameritrade for 15 years. She’s also volunteered with The Salvation Army for the past 10 years, and she credits her passion for volunteerism to her experience as a single mother.
“I am committed to giving back to the community,” she said. “I had to lean on organizations and other people for help, and so it warms my heart to be in a position to help others now.”
Crystal first connected with The Salvation Army when she heard an advertisement calling for volunteers to help distribute backpacks during the Back to School Backpack Program. Since then, she has volunteered with the drive every August. “I get so much joy helping kids pick out their backpacks for the school year,” she said.
She also delivers Thanksgiving meals to older adults in need as part of The Salvation Army’s annual TurkeyFest program, helps families shop for gifts at Toyland Days and coordinates her company’s Adopt-A-Family efforts. TD Ameritrade has sponsored four families for each of the last four years.
“My passion for volunteerism had rubbed off on my team members and my manager,” said Crystal. “I feel really fortunate that I work with people who value helping others and want to go out of their way to help kids.”
Crystal collects monetary donations from her co-workers, and then she shops for toys and gifts for the families her company has adopted. “I love to shop, and I love to get the bargains, so I get the most for our money and make sure our families have plenty of gifts,” she said. She and two of her team members then deliver the wrapped gifts to the families.
“Kids are innocent. They might not understand why their families are struggling or why there is no money for Christmas gifts,” she explained. “I love to be able to brighten their holiday a little bit.”
In addition to the many hours she commits to The Salvation Army each year, Crystal also volunteers for the Open Door Mission and Susan G. Komen. Her daughter, 20, has followed in Crystal’s footsteps since she was 12 and first helped distribute backpacks at the Back to School Backpack Drive. Crystal’s mother also participates in the TurkeyFest meal delivery when she visits Omaha over Thanksgiving.
“I learned the value of volunteerism at a young age from my mom and my church,” Crystal said. “And now I do what I can, whenever I can. We are blessed to be in the situation we are in, but I also know our situation could change at any time, so I try to stay humble and do my part.”
For more information about adopting a family in need this Christmas, please visit the Adopt-A-Family webpage. For information about additional volunteer opportunities with The Salvation Army, please visit our volunteer webpage.