Meet EveryStep Giving Tree Volunteer Sheila Gleason

Sheila Gleason

Moving to Des Moines from Omaha in 2016, Sheila Gleason was glad to be closer to her children, but eager to find the kind of volunteer work she had done in Nebraska. She enjoyed the laughter and fun as a volunteer clown. She hoped to continue to find joyful volunteer work in Iowa.

She certainly found the fun she was seeking when she became an EveryStep Giving Tree volunteer in 2018. You’ll typically see Sheila at the back of the thrift store on Mondays, sorting and pricing clothing donations. “I am one of the few people who honestly look forward to Mondays!” says Sheila.

Sheila admits she was a little terrified when she first moved to Des Moines because she didn’t know anybody. Thanks to her work at EveryStep Giving Tree in Urbandale, Sheila says she has now made lifelong friends, often going out to lunch after their shifts at the store.

“I cannot tell you how awesome it is working for Michele Bronson [EveryStep Giving Tree store manager] and Cheyenne Hensley [EveryStep Giving Tree assistant store manager]. They are so good to work for,” says Sheila. “That’s what brings the joy to work — when you can laugh and have fun, and still get all your work done. We always have so much fun seeing the donations coming in and there have been some bizarre ones!”

One strange item Sheila remembers is a neck exerciser, which the staff had fun trying out. Sometimes no one knows what a particular item is and that’s when staff jump in to consult the internet to identify it.

“All my friends love coming to the store and they always find treasures,” says Sheila. “For some reason we got a bunch of wedding dresses donated to the store — I’m talking 50 wedding dresses — and one of my friends called me and said, ‘I just bought seven wedding dresses and I called my boyfriend and told him he better get a move on because I’ve got seven wedding dresses.’ I still can’t believe it!”

Several years ago, Sheila and some friends started renting a condo in Cancun for part of the winter. “I truly miss my Giving Tree buddies when I’m gone and they keep joking they won’t let me go anymore!” Sheila says she always looks forward to getting back to Des Moines so she can jump back into her volunteer work at EveryStep Giving Tree.

When she’s not volunteering at EveryStep’s upscale boutique-style thrift store, Sheila works at a local food bank and prior to the pandemic, had also volunteered as a Eucharistic minister at Mercy One.

Sales and donations at EveryStep Giving Tree benefit EveryStep's nonprofit health care and human service programs — and the people they serve. EveryStep Giving Tree is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who can commit to at least four hours a week. To learn about the many volunteer opportunities at EveryStep Giving Tree, please email store manager Michele Bronson or call 515-270-2414. Volunteer roles Include:

  • Clothing steamer.
  • Fitting room attendant.
  • Clothes washer.
  • Clothing straightener.
  • Pricer.
  • Back door greeter (to accept donations).
  • Dish washer.

If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form here. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide help.