Hi there, I’m Amanda — a member of Team MUTTS and an avid volunteer in my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida. Through my volunteer work with the Junior League of Tallahassee (JLT), I was introduced to the Big Bend Homeless Coalition’s HOPE Community (HOPE), an emergency shelter serving families with minor children. HOPE Community works to provide residents with the tools and access to employment, housing, and supportive resources they need to return to stable housing while providing them a safe space to reside in the interim. 

JLT has partnered with HOPE since 2017 to renovate areas on campus, clean up the grounds, demolish and rebuild their playground with Kaboom!, host donation drives, serve meals, take resident kiddos winter clothes shopping, and — my favorite — put on holiday festivities for the residents. 

While much of our volunteer work at HOPE is geared toward helping the organization meet residents’ most basic needs, these holiday shifts are pure fun. We decorate for the winter holidays, supply festive goodies for Valentine’s Day, host splash days in the summer, hold fall festivals and Halloween parties, and more! These types of events offer a bit of normalcy and joy for the children residing on campus, and can be a light-hearted respite for their parents and guardians. 

Photos of JLT volunteers, including the author, at HOPE Community shifts

After hearing about my volunteer antics at HOPE around our proverbial water cooler — we’re a distributed remote team, after all — the MUTTS Team wanted to contribute! 

One of Patrick’s most beloved picture books, The Gift of Nothing, encourages expressing your holiday spirit with gifts of love, kindness, and presence. But sometimes, gifting items that are sent with love is just as meaningful! This is why I’m so honored that Team MUTTS will be gifting books, crafts, and other goodies to the residents at HOPE Community this year. Plus, for every keepsake Official Gift of Nothing Box sold through December 15, MUTTS will donate a pair of our new, fun fuzzy socks! 

I’m so grateful to work with a team that not only applauds community work, but also wants to contribute to it, despite being miles and states away from my community. If that’s not the holiday spirit, what is? 


Amanda Leighty is a Digital Marketing Writer at MUTTS. You can learn more about the Big Bend Homeless Coalition HOPE Community or donate at www.BigBendHC.org

Comments (1)

Bravo Amanda! I support Mutts by buying Mutts merchandise and forwarding everything Mutts to friends here in the States and overseas. I am sorry I am unable to donate but I wish the very best of luck and success! May your holiday be extraordinarily blessed with your contacts at Mutts!!

Candi-Sue SCOTT