By: Callie Luckadoo
How many accountants does it take to load 20 shopping carts with random household items? At least a dozen, if the 2014 CPA Day of Service is any indicator.
When one of my CPA exam review instructors, Melisa Galasso, CPA, informed our class of NCACPA’s partnership with several Charlotte-area charities for the annual CPA Day of Service, my interest was immediately sparked. Melisa referred the class to the listing of volunteer opportunities on NCACPA’s website, and I selected Crisis Assistance Ministry.
Located near downtown Charlotte, the mission of Crisis Assistance Ministry focuses on providing tangible necessities to residents of the community. This giving model includes provision of emergency funds for housing, household items, and clothing by way of a “free store,” and a large furniture bank. The organization maintains an emphasis on the preservation of its clientele’s dignity and a continual movement toward self-sufficiency.
After introductions of the dozen-or-so volunteers and a brief explanation of Crisis Assistance Ministry’s role in Mecklenburg County, we were given our assignment: we were to unpack large parcels of donated goods and place them in shopping carts to be wheeled into the “free store” for stocking. We were told that the items did not need to be placed in any particular order, as long as they could be quickly removed during stocking. The group began to pull random objects out of the bins—packs of colored pencils, solar-powered dancing flowers, muffin tins, closet organizers—and placing them haphazardly into various shopping carts. After about five minutes of disorganized unloading, one of our teammates exclaimed, “Guys, we are accountants. We can do better than this!”
And so it began.
We unloaded the three shopping carts that had been filled thus far, developed a system for categorizing the donated goods, and began filling the shopping carts once more. This time, the items were placed in a grid-like pattern to ensure efficient use of space. The stacks in our shopping carts began to faintly resemble the rows and columns of an Excel® spreadsheet—or maybe that was the left half of my brain kicking in. Regardless of the process, the end result was a work of art. No, really—one shopping cart was just dedicated entirely to art supplies—colored pencils, crayons, and sketchpads.
At the end of the day, we were given a tour of the free store so that we could see the ultimate result of our labor. As we quietly walked through the aisles of household goods and clothing, I saw an elderly lady picking out school clothes for a little boy, possibly her grandson, and I knew that our team had made an impact.
When I chose to pursue accounting as a degree during college and, by extension, as a career path, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to participate in a day where CPAs across my home state joined forces to serve our communities. NCACPA has hosted three annual Days of Service thus far, and I am excited to see how this model of charitable giving and community service expands in the future.
To those of you who participated this year: thank you for creating time in the midst of a busy week to serve those in need. The impact of your actions is immeasurable.
Callie Luckadoo is a Shelby, North Carolina native, who spends her days kayaking, baking, and studying for the CPA exam. Since graduation in May with her BS in Accounting, she has passed two sections of the exam and has plans to pass the remaining two by Thanksgiving. Callie developed an interest in using accounting as a means of serving those in need during her accounting internship in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the International Mission Board. She is pursuing a career in Audit and has a passion for both creating innovative solutions for clients and providing aid to those in need. Callie is a student member of NCACPA. She can be reached at [email protected].