2017 Volunteer of the Year Finalist
In the fall of 2012, Mary Brooks received a call from a friend who wanted to start a program that would pick up food and goods from retailers and citizens who had surplus, and then deliver to those in need. Why in a world with so much abundance do thousands live with unmet needs, Mary’s friend asked? This resonated with Mary, who had once been a young, single mother struggling to provide formula and blankets for her child. Mary eagerly joined the Board of Directors of White Pony Express (WPE) shortly after the organization was established. WPE seeks to help eliminate hunger and poverty in Contra Costa County, Calif. by delivering the abundance all around us to those in need.
In the past four years, White Pony Express has witnessed tremendous growth and impact; every day, 364 days per year, it delivers two tons of fresh, nutritious food that would have otherwise gone to waste to shelters and rescues tens of thousands of like-new pieces of clothing, toys and books that would otherwise have been thrown away. As Co-Chair of the WPE Free General Store, Mary has led the organization’s mobile boutique efforts, distributing more than 250,000 articles of new and like-new clothing, 95,000 toys and children’s books, and hundreds of backpacks full of emergency goods through 43 different mobile boutiques across the county. These programs show respect and care to homeless and underprivileged individuals and families, which helps them change the way they think about themselves and opens the possibility of a way ahead.