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Posted on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 10:11 a.m.

For volunteer, helping families through Warm the Children helps her focus on the big picture

By Ann Dwyer

No one would blame Eleanor Pollack if she didn’t want to celebrate the holiday season. Last year, she lost her husband of 36 years in late December.

As owners of Pollack Design Associates, the two would make donations for each of their employees to Warm the Children.

Once he died, however, Eleanor scaled back the company and is now retired. But when November rolled around this year, she knew she still needed to do something. Without the income of the company, she decided to donate her time instead and become a volunteer shopper for Warm the Children.

“When you get outside yourself ... when you’re not focused on ‘poor me,’ it’s a whole lot easier to move forward,” she said.

“Grateful” is a word she uses often in conversation. She is grateful for the life she had with her husband, and she sees how grateful the families are when she shops with Warm the Children recipients.

“Everyone is so amazingly appreciative,” Pollack said.

As a shopper, Pollack helps the families get the most for their money. In the rare occasion that a Target store, where all recipients shop, is not familiar with the program, she makes sure that no sales tax is applied and that they get the discount that the stores have graciously given to Warm the Children recipients.

Pollack really likes that every penny donated to Warm the Children goes toward providing clothing and shoes for children. That’s possible because and our fiscal partner United Bank & Trust absorb all overhead costs. We also work with the Ann Area Arbor Community Foundation to provide fiscal oversight as our nonprofit partner.

During a time that could be very hard for her, Pollack has found something she considers bigger than herself that also allows her to honor her husband’s memory.

Warm the Children will be wrapping up shopping trips in January. But we want to make sure to go in strong to 2012, so we are still asking for donations.

There are many easy ways to give. You can do so online by visiting

You also can make a donation in person by visiting any United Bank & Trust branch in Washtenaw County, or you can mail a donation to Warm the Children, c/o United Bank & Trust, PO Box 1127, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1127.

Throughout the year you can also visit our Community Space at 301 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor and make a donation when you get a cup of coffee. The coffee is donated by local brewers, and all proceeds go to Warm the Children. This season, Mountain Country Coffee has donated all of the coffee for the 2011 Warm the Children campaign season.