BY ANNA NORKETT, ANALYST & SENDERO CARES LEAD
The holiday season brings countless toy drives. You can donate seemingly everywhere – doctors’ offices, government buildings, places of worship, malls, you name it.
I have always appreciated the donation boxes and the spirit of giving that accompanies the holidays; however, it can be overwhelming to know where to give, and limitless options can sometimes paralyze me.
A few months into my career at Sendero, the annual toy drive email came out. Something was different about this one, though. Sendero’s toy drive originated to raise support for an organization that one of our members, Christi Bellon, had been involved in for years – Community Partners of Dallas (CPD). Because of her personal involvement, this gave the toy drive a special touch and I looked forward to our holiday toy drive each year.
Sendero’s holiday service traditions have grown with the company since the start of our annual toy drive. As new employees join our team and bring forward their passions in the community, we have expanded the toy drive to include two additional organizations: Dallas CASA, an organization that advocates for children in foster care, and DePelchin’s Children Center, which advocates for children’s emotional and physical well-being in Houston. Employees have also shared and implemented ideas to serve together during the holiday season, such as volunteering at the National Guard Christmas Party, gift sorting at DePelchin’s Children Center, and wrapping donated gifts at Kids-U.
The exciting part is that as the number of opportunities to give back during the holidays has increased, we have seen the time it takes to fill all volunteer and donation spots decrease. The “Season of Giving” rings true at Sendero as employees have expressed and acted on an exponential desire to give back to the community.
So, what makes the difference? And how can you facilitate and enable a spirit of giving at your company this holiday season?
- Establish employee-driven initiatives. Empowering employees to pitch organizations they’re involved in creates an immediate passion and excitement around the issue.
- Gather ideas from employees across the organization. Every person is different, so this will most likely produce unique service events that benefit a variety of organizations. The diversity in options will attract a broader range of involvement.
- Ensure senior leadership buy-in. With leaders advocating and supporting from the top, it sets a positive example of service across all levels.
What matters more than the number of employees you can get involved or how much time you are able to give back is providing a space for people to serve and celebrate together during the holiday season. As Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
Each year Sendero participates, I'm thrilled at how we generously come together to help the most vulnerable members of our community feel hope and a sense of belonging.Christi Bellon, Sr. Director of Accounting and Finance