Employee won’t let global pandemic stop her from giving back

Faced with overwhelming challenges like job losses, feeding children who once relied on school lunches to get their daily nutrition or worrying about a loved one working the frontlines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, people now more than ever need a helping hand. Despite social distancing, there's plenty of ways to give back during this time. 


Claudette M.  has always been passionate about caring for her community, especially after serving for so many years in the military.


“I feel this need to give back to my fellow veterans," said Claudette, a third-party relationship manager. “I spent 21 years the military, eight active duty and 13 in the reserves, so I'm pretty passionate about that."


While she's always volunteered, she has served a lot more during the past couple of years. She even set an impressive goal for herself.


“This year, I turned 50, and my goal is to volunteer at least 50 different times throughout the year," explains Claudette. “I did 38 last year, so I thought, 'what's 12 more?'"


She hasn't let anything stop her from reaching her goal, even a worldwide pandemic.


“I signed up with the San Antonio Food Bank last week, and we passed out food to families in need – we supported about 2,000 families that day," she said.


The San Antonio Food Bank is taking extra precautions during this time to ensure volunteers are safe, including a no-touch temperature check upon arrival and social-distancing placements. While USAA has suspended the in-person employee volunteer program through Sept. 1, employees who choose to participate independently in volunteer events should consider health and safety recommendations from the CDC.


To volunteer from home, Claudette says there are many virtual opportunities for employees, such as making cards for deployed service members.


“I also signed up for a virtual volunteer event for Soldier's Angels and shared that event with my team," she said. “It's super simple. Anyone can do it in our new work-from-home environment."


USAA is also matching employee donations to qualified non-profits. However, even if some are not able to give back financially, Claudette says there are many opportunities to make a difference.


“Everyone has time they can give," she said. “It doesn't have to be a whole day. It can be an hour or two on a Saturday or one hour after work. Everyone can serve in some capacity."