06:54 PM

Staff Spotlight: Paulette Purdy, Volunteer Extraordinaire

By: Mary Ann Cozza

Paulette Purdy believes no child should go without and works tirelessly to ensure none do on her watch. Purdy, the business administrator of the UHD College of Public Service, began working with the House of Tiny Treasures, an area homeless children's center, when she was a UHD undergraduate some 15 years ago and she hasn't stopped.

"I needed to earn volunteer hours for my honor society," Purdy said. "I saw how much help HTT needed and then I fell in love with it."

Purdy began collecting clothes, pantry items and toys from the children's Christmas wish lists. She recalls the first Christmas she donated items, "I did whatever I could to get everything on their lists. I was so upset after I finished because I realized the HTT children probably had siblings that didn't get any presents and that thought haunted me all year."

Today, Purdy continues to gather and donate goods throughout the year, including school uniforms and winter coats, and receives invaluable help from UHD's Department of Criminal Justice students and faculty, Staff Council representatives, Student Activities and others. Together, they collected more than two car-loads worth of Halloween candy for the children and decorated over 600 eggs for a huge Easter egg hunt.

"You don't know how easy you have it until you visit HTT," Purdy said. "These babies don't have anything."

One of her largest activities includes creating an average 55 survival kits for the HTT children and their siblings near the holiday season.

"Each child receives a sleeping bag, pajamas, underwear, socks, a stuffed animal and some sort of treat," she said. "I want them to be warm and happy."

Purdy, who claims to be able to stretch a $20 bill better than anyone around, says she will continue to volunteer her time for the children because she knows the difference a donation can make to someone in need.

"If we can start with the families, we can break the cycle of homelessness," Purdy said.