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Carol Jolly of Albert Lea Receives $1,000 In Seed Money

Community Roots | December 5, 2022

Kevin LaFrance and Miranda Sailor from our Albert Lea branch recognized Carol Jolly of Albert Lea with $1,000 in cash as part of our on-going Seed Money campaign. This campaign helps Home Federal and its employees recognize the unsung heroes in the communities we serve.

Who is Carol Jolly?

Carol is a very caring individual who has dedicated much of her life to giving back. She is always focused on helping people when they need it – no matter what is happening in their lives (or her own).

Her last name, Jolly, perfectly illustrates her demeanor – no matter what Carol is going through, you can find her with a smile on her face and making sure that those around her are well taken care of. She has had her fair share of rough patches. Those times have taught her the importance of being grateful and giving back when you are able. “I’ve been helped along the way, and I know the value in that,” Carol explains.

What Makes Carol Jolly So Deserving?

Shari Sprague, Executive Director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, nominated Carol for her dedication to starting and operating Jack Frost’s Closet but also her can-do attitude and commitment to providing for those who are in need. “I nominated Carol because I’ve never seen a person endure so much, so often, and keep a smile on her face,” Shari emphasized. “And [she] stills gives back to the community – even with all that she’s dealing with in her personal life.”

Carol started Jack Frost’s Closet seven years ago with the main goal of providing coats to those who need them yet may not be able to afford a warm enough jacket. This organization has since helped over 7,000 families in the seven-plus years she has been operating it with the help of Corinne Anderson and many others. Not only has she been able to help many families along the way, she has also grown the outerwear items available. Jack Frost’s Closet now provides all types of outdoor winter gear such as boots, socks, hats, mittens, and even blankets. Plus, when someone gets a coat, they try and make sure they leave with a matching set of mittens and a scarf as well. Carol wants everyone who leaves Jack Frost’s Closet to feel good wearing what they receive.

It’s important to Carol that nobody goes without the proper winter attire. “I definitely don’t like seeing kids at the bus stop without a coat on. Even though they're all into sweatshirts now, as my grandson would say,” Carol explains. “But there are days you can’t go without a coat – and we have cool coats.  You can come in and find one to your liking.”

“Carol Jolly needs this award. She has worked [with] her heart and soul for so long. I can’t think of anybody more deserving than Carol for this award,” Jean Eaton, volunteer at Jack Frost’s Closet, affirmed when she was asked why Carol was deserving of this recognition.

Where Did We Surprise Carol Jolly?

Carol was working at the Jack Frost’s Closet when Miranda Sailor, Lead Teller, and Kevin LaFrance, Market Vice President, went to surprise her with the $1,000 in cash. Once the cash was handed over, all Carol could do was express a very heartfelt “thank you” while holding back tears.

Why is Giving Back to the Community So Important?

Shari, Carol, and all of us at Home Federal agree that it’s important to give back because it will make the community better for all of its members. “If everyone would just give a little, the world would be so much better of a place,” Shari shared.

Not only will the community be better, but the individuals impacted will be better off as well. “The rewards that you get out of giving back is beyond – it’s life-changing,” said Carol. “It’s life-changing for the recipient, it’s life-changing for you, it’s remarkable.”

How Can You Help Jack Frost’s Closet?

Jack Frost’s Closet relies on donations from the Albert Lea community and the surrounding areas. Jean Eaton, volunteer, explains how easy it is for people to find the donation boxes and drop off their gently used or new outerwear. “There are donation boxes around the county in every little community.” Jack Frost’s Closet will also happily accept monetary donations at their mall location or through Shinefest Albert Lea to help fill the closet with winter items.

While it may seem like this is a seasonal organization, Shari shared that individuals are welcome to donate year-round. “Jack Frost’s Closet will be at the mall for a full year so folks can stop out there [anytime] and drop things off. It’s very easy to give.”

Home Federal Believes in “Giving Today to Help Grow Tomorrow”

Seed Money was created to help recognize and reward the local “do-gooders” going above and beyond in their communities and Carol is very deserving of the Seed Money reward and recognition. To help showcase all the winter necessities Carol provides to the Albert Lea community, we recorded her Seed Money surprise and posted it to our YouTube channel. Feel free to view Carol’s video along with other recipients' footage, to see the full impact that Seed Money is providing to our communities.

“At Home Federal, giving back to the community is very important. That’s why giving this money to Carol, who is a very deserving recipient, is important to us. It’s what our Seed Money program and recognition is all about,” Kevin LaFrance disclosed. 

Seed Money is part of Home Federal’s Community Roots Initiative where the mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow Tomorrow” and we know Carol Jolly has made the Albert Lea community a warmer place to live, especially during the cold winter months.​​​​​​​

We thank individuals, like Carol, for all you do in the communities we serve. See our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.

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