Give Back

May 2017

Three agencies share ways in which they donate their time and resources


iStock 000005913775Medium 1Driving Donations

From 2009–2016, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles partnered with Indianapolis School 44, leading multiple fundraising efforts for the children, families and teachers of the community, where 90 percent of the children who attend the school live below the poverty level.

Indiana Customer Service Award 2016
The students and staff of Indianapolis School 44 benefited from multiple fundraising efforts organized by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

What began as a one-time donation event evolved into a program with several yearly collection drives, thanks to the generous outpouring of donations from BMV staff and the overwhelmingly grateful response from the students and staff of School 44. In 2015, the BMV organized a food drive in February and March to stock the school pantry before spring break, a school supply drive in July before the first day of school and a winter coat drive.

Being a kid can be tough, and the BMV wanted the students of School 44 to focus on their education rather than worrying about where their next meal would come from or how cold they would be while waiting for the school bus outside. We’re proud to be the international winner of AAMVA’s 2016 Community Service Award for this program. The Indiana BMV is passionate about giving back and is continuing to work with charitable organizations throughout the state of Indiana in 2017.Along with collecting all of these items, BMV staff members also sorted donations, boxed them up and delivered the donations directly to School 44. Not only did this partnership improve the lives of the children and families in the Indianapolis community, but it also helped boost the morale of our own BMV family and brought the BMV staff closer together.

iStock 000005913775Medium 2A giving perspective

In October 2016, the California DMV held its 6th annual Eyeglass Collection Campaign throughout the month, as it coincides with Eye Health Awareness month. This campaign adds to the department’s ‘Living Green’ goal by recycling and reusing used eyeglasses.

The objective of this campaign is to collect as many used pairs of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses as possible to reach as many recipients as we can. This campaign is charitable and does not involve monetary funding or collection.

The DMV staff collects used prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses at all field offices throughout the state and at the DMV headquarters. I am in charge of rounding up the eyeglasses and sunglasses for the campaign, so everyone ships or delivers them to me at headquarters. I sort through the glasses to ensure they are prescription glasses and that they are in good condition. Some minor repairs, such as missing screws, can be made.

California Department of Motor Vehicles Eyeglass Collection Campaign
Fariba Shahmirzadi (left) receives an eyeglass donation from Jaime Garza (right) during the California DMV’s Eyeglass Collection Campaign.

We’re proud that hundreds of people will be able to see more clearly thanks to the generosity of DMV employees. I chose to volunteer and continue the Eyeglass Collection Campaign because I believe it is a great way to give back to the community. The 1,628 pair of eyeglasses that were collected this year will go a long way to benefit people with vision issues who may not have access to affordable eye care.Once the collection process ends, the eyeglasses are delivered to a member of the Folsom Lions Club, who then delivers them to Folsom Prison. The eyeglasses will be cleaned, categorized and repaired. Once each shipment of eyeglasses has been processed, they will be distributed by a nonprofit organization to help people everywhere in the world in need of eyeglasses. Eyeglasses have been shipped to Peru, Uganda, Mexico, Laos, Philippines and many more countries.

Over the past six years, more than 7,300 pairs of used eyeglasses have been collected. Even a single pair of used eyeglasses can make a difference in someone’s life, and this is a project where employees enthusiastically participate. There is no monetary donation needed—just collect and submit the eyeglasses. Employees have commented on how easy and rewarding this project is to complete, and we’ve received numerous compliments from DMV staff on this great idea.

iStock 000005913775Medium 3aHere to serve our residents

Those of us who manage motor vehicle agencies know that worrying about wait times, performance levels and transactions can take up a lot of our time. It’s easy to forget that people in our communities depend on the services we provide to access basic services like housing and employment. Here in Massachusetts, we were pleased to partner with local and state agencies and community nonprofits in a one-day event to serve the homeless and housing insecure.

During this one-day event, attendees had access to flu shots, dental care, food, and mental health and housing resources. The Registry of Motor Vehicles participated by dedicating staff both at the resource fair itself and at the closest RMV service center to process Massachusetts state IDs for eligible attendees. Without a government-issued credential, residents are often unable to access services most residents take for granted, such as opening a bank account, applying for a job or getting an apartment.

Two customer service representatives staffed a table at the event to triage customers to make sure they had their applications filled out and the necessary documentation ready. With transportation provided by a local veterans’ group, 10 customers at a time were then brought directly to the RMV’s New Bedford Service Center so their transactions could be processed.

Forty individuals who are homeless or in transitional housing walked away from the RMV on Sept. 30, 2016, with a Massachusetts ID card. Those customers are now better able to lead productive and healthy lives. Our staff members also got to see how their daily work—reviewing documents, processing applications and payments—can be life-changing for individuals and families who are struggling to meet their basic needs. Our service center staff was proud of the work they accomplished and look forward to participating again this year.