At Wayfair, we are committed to contributing positively to our communities and our world, and we are continuously impressed by our many team members across the globe who go above and beyond to drive meaningful change in their own backyards.
One organization that’s near and dear to our hearts is COPE Galway. Wayfair and our Galway team have been longtime supporters of COPE Galway’s mission to improve the quality of life, in a home of their own, for people affected by homelessness, including women and children experiencing domestic abuse, and the elderly. Over the years we have found ways to give back, from making donations and coordinating food drives to other fundraising initiatives. Once a year, a Wayfair senior leader participates in an event that both gives back and inspires: the COPE Galway Sleep Out.
This past year, Tamara McGough, who heads up Wayfair’s Create function for Europe, which focuses on continuously improving our customer and agent experience, joined more than 20 participants from local business and universities to spend a night on the streets of Galway. They raised awareness and funds for COPE Galway to support their incredible work combating homelessness, but most of all, it was an opportunity for them to walk in someone else’s shoes. “We got to experience what it’s like to not have the safety of a roof over your head at night and really take stock of your own life,” noted Tamara. “When you’re sitting there for twelve hours, getting cold and tired, you have in the back of your mind - ‘I’ll be getting in my car and going home soon.’ Not everyone has that luxury. It’s something we’re all aware of, but it didn't hit me until then, to feel the warmth and safety of your house.”
Throughout the night Tamara collected donations, passed out booklets, and handed out water and blankets to those in need. It was also an opportunity for her to connect with other business leaders and employers throughout the city and be a part of making change in the community.
COPE Galway’s Assistant CEO, Martin O’Connor, highlights the night’s impact: “2020 was such a challenging year; there was so much we did that we could otherwise not have done if it weren’t for the funds raised by the Business Sleep Out. For example, over a very short space of time we brought six properties into use. They were little more than a shell and we got them fitted out and ready. It was because of the funds raised through the Business Sleep Out that we had the ability and flexibility to do that – and it made a significant difference to keeping people safe and well.”
For Tamara, one thing that struck her most was how her actions inspired others to do the same. “The number of emails I received from people across the company, from Berlin to Boston, was inspiring,” noted Tamara. “Even if I only got two or three other people to do something for charity, to have the effect of not just donating money, but doing something and creating awareness - I think is amazing.”
To learn more about COPE Galway's mission & donate to the cause, please visit copegalway.ie.