Armed with not much more than two suitcases packed with boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, Scotts Valley resident Jodie Fillhardt is leaving Sunday for Poland on her goodwill mission.

Where it defines “go-getter” in the dictionary, there must be a picture of Jodie, who is using her considerable energy to spend two weeks in Krakow showing that Americans do care.

“I want to show up in Krakow and provide any support I can,” says Jodie, who’s rented a car to transport refugees from the Polish border to their destination. “I’m going to hand out food and supplies.”

Traveling a long way from home

Jody has lived in Scotts Valley for the past six years with her husband Nathan, a software engineer at Apple, and their daughter Elizabeth, 5. Before beginning her humanitarian efforts, Jodie administrated Homeroom Education, which helped students develop a unique presentation. With the pandemic raging, however, she was unable to continue the project, which was formed to help kids in the classroom.

– Robert Aldana of The Pulse of Scotts Valley Interviews Jodie Fillhardt –

She has created a corner of her weekly blog and calls it Travel for a Cause, and it’s for people who want to help the world in crisis.

She aims to help people help

Let’s get back to the Girl Scout cookies, which were donated by Elizabeth’s local troop. Why sell the precious snacks at Nob Hill when you can gift hungry Ukrainian school children on the run from Russian rockets?

Nathan’s company, Apple, previously donated $2 for every $1 given by employees to the World Central Kitchen, which travels the world providing meals to people in war-torn areas.

“I can be a funnel point for people who want to help but don’t know how,” she says. “I want to connect people to specific organizations on the ground so they can actively help.”

Like many, Jody embraces the idea of gifting to a specific cause, rather than just sending a check and not knowing who it has helped if anyone.

In addition to putting herself in harm’s way, Jodi is encouraging people to donate their Hilton points to refugees who have no place to live. If this interests you and your family contact Jodi at

Leaving no stone unturned, Jodi, who is staying at The Grand Hotel, is working at having the 5-star property donate unused rooms to the refugees.

A new chapter of her life

When Jodi’s educational blog closed because of COVID, she picked herself up and looked for her next opportunity.

“I love to travel and write,” she says. “And be helpful.”

No, she doesn’t speak Polish or Ukrainian. Jodi is considering making a sign to pin on her jacket that state’s clearly (in Ukrainian) that she’s just a dumb American that didn’t learn how to speak their language.

Somehow, it seems clear that the refuges and Poles will simply be glad she took the time out of her life to help those in need.