There are over 300 volunteers signed up with 120 currently active. Tom sees himself as a mentor to some of the younger volunteers, something that he finds very gratifying.
“Without the volunteers, we couldn’t do this,” Waniewski said.
Volunteer activities include phone banking, canvasing door-to-door, sending mailers, putting up signs, and attending events.
It is really about making it fun to be a part of the campaign.
“We go out of our way to make it fun and effortless for the volunteers,” Waniewski said. “For example, many of our volunteers enjoy attending neighborhood festivals to show their support for our campaign. All they do is wear one of our Tom for Toledo t-shirts to the events and their participation becomes a big plus for our grassroots effort. It has to be that easy. The same is true with phone banking and canvassing, we make it as easy as possible and we have fun in the process!”
Some of the volunteers have even made a competition out of the campaign activities. Carter Bomeli joined the group in mid June after wanting to get involved with local politics. He’ll be a senior at Maumee High School. He is one of those volunteers that lead the pack with the highest amount of phone calls to Toledoans.
“My favorite part is running the phone bank. I am currently the leader right now with 1,854 calls,” Bomeli said.
New and old passions have collided to form one of the strongest grassroots campaigns ever. Volunteers range in age as young as 14 years old to 78 years old.
One of the more experienced volunteers, Jon Binkley, has actively worked on numerous local and presidential campaigns since 1981 and he is Bomeli’s biggest competition in the phone bank.
“It developed accidentally, the competition, I have gone in the past to try to make a certain amount of calls. I usually go for 125 call attempts in two hours and then it turned into a mathematical competition. It’s interesting and fun,” Binkley said.
Bomeli and the other volunteers find it very rewarding working on Tom’s campaign because they truly believe that he is the one that can turn the problems of Toledo around.
“We get to tell people that there’s hope for the future, whether it’s potholes, or crime. Knowing that I’m working on a campaign for a guy that is actually going to solve these problems is a lot of fun and extremely fulfilling,” Bomeli said.
To continue this strong stride into the primary, the campaign held a volunteer strategy meeting on Thursday Aug. 3 where 50 new volunteers joined this incredible movement.