To rebuild hope, sometimes you have to start small. Meet Beignet Du Monde, the miniature mascot of non-profit group Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans (RHINO).
"What we do at RHINO is take volunteers from out-of-town and we match them with community service needs in New Orleans. He came down with a group from Laurel, Maryland out of Laurel Presbyterian Church. They brought him down and started taking him around to all the work sites they were working on so he's been to Second Harvest, Habitat, the St. Bernard Project," says Emma Pegues, Project Director at RHINO about the first time Beignet joined the team.
People loved him so much, he became a recognizable face at volunteer opportunities all over the city, raising awareness for RHINO's main mission.
"It's just a great, exciting way to see good work happening in the city. We feel a lot of the time that our message is heard on a national level which is incredible and it's so key to the volunteer force in New Orleans to bring people from out-of-town but the great thing about Beignet is that he's here all the time with us and helps us establish a local presence and people see him around town, people tweet him."
That’s right! Beignet Du Monde became so popular he even has his own Facebook page and Twitter account. “People really love to get in there with him so our RHINO volunteers like to take selfies and like to make sure they're associated with Beignet and a great cause," says Pegues.
He can't hand you a paint brush or lift heavy objects, but the boost Beignet brings to volunteers is sweet and his impact is very real.