Brittany Ussin’s propensity for volunteering comes as no surprise, at least not if you know her story.
“I came from poverty,” Brittany said. “My mother got pregnant when she was 16, so her parents kicked her out of the house. She became emancipated and moved into a women’s shelter in New Orleans. Once she had me, she was referred to a Salvation Army shelter.”
They lived in the shelter for three years with nothing more than some clothes, plates, cups, one bed, and one toy for the baby. The family eventually moved into permanent housing and Brittany’s mother began her career as a probation officer. “She’s now the lead officer at two prisons in Louisiana,” Brittany said. “She has done very well, and all it took was someone believing in her. If it were not for The Salvation Army, neither one of us would be where we are today.”
Brittany moved to Austin five years ago and started at UPS as a seasonal worker. After a couple of months, the company kept her as a full-time employee. After becoming a delivery driver, Brittany was promoted to preload manager. “I have moved up pretty quickly at UPS, and my motivation comes from my mother,” Brittany said. “To watch her come from nothing and work so hard to have success, it inspires me every day.”
That inspiration has also inspired giving back to the community. Brittany says she used to volunteer with various nonprofits, but many of those opportunities evaporated once the pandemic hit. After doing some research, she found The Salvation Army Austin Area Command. It is a perfect fit.
“I have direct contact with more than 150 employees every day, so there is no reason we cannot get involved in the community and make a difference,” Brittany said. “Several of us from UPS have put together boxes with games, toys, and other items for families at The Rathgeber Center. I also brought 70 colleagues with me to volunteer at the warehouse during the Angel Tree program last fall. It was such a bonding experience for us, and it quickly became our favorite volunteering event.”
Brittany says that when she was 6 years old, her mother received Christmas gifts from the Angel Tree program in New Orleans, and it had a massive impact on her happiness as a child.
“I am so thankful to The Salvation Army for helping my mother become who she is today,” Brittany said. “I am also proud to give back to an organization who did so much for us growing up.”