Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Giving Back: United Way

Hi everyone!

This is just a quick snippet of a blog post. 

This holiday season at my place of work, due to circumstances, I took over as the coordinator for United Way donations.  Taking charge might be a better description since I pretty much took over.  Every year we ask our major vendors for food donations for United Way and most of the time the response is lackluster.  It's not because the companies don't want to give but more because the letters are sent too late or to the wrong address (ie: home versus business) and lost on a table or desk.  This year I went out of my way to contact each vendor personally after the letters went out to find several letters had been misplaced.  We were able to then fax the letters out and get donations immediately with all of the companies we sent letters to!  One of our sales reps actually made a personal donation and not a company one!

It was time consuming doing the coordinating part and it's a good thing I made a list from the previous year or I wouldn't have known where to start!  It's a tricky balance when companies respond "well what do you need?" and anything is not the answer.  I mean if everyone sent turkey and nothing else that's not much of a dinner.  So I took last years list and gave each company something different, generally working off of what we did the previous year.  Soda company donated soda.  One company did the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry.  Another did the vegetables and potatoes.  And another company did desserts.  It literally occupied two full days of work and even though I could use the time for backed up paperwork United Way was just more important.  We only get to do this once a year, so I wanted to make sure it got done regardless.  The paperwork will always be there.

This was the biggest donation turn out I have ever seen.  I even had two companies donate product that had not before.  We had almost 30 families in need of food and I was thrilled that because of our distributors generosity we were able to more then accommodate all of them.  I heard through the grape vine they actually had some left over that was donated to a soup kitchen!

I am just thrilled that the companies chose to send us so much this year.  It's always a pleasure to see any company give back to the community and it doesn't go unnoticed.  All will be getting fancy thank you letters sometime in the future.

I also find it interesting that the food acquisition process is done differently then when I was a child.  The families actually come in and pick food.  When I was a child they came to our house with a box.  Whatever works, I am just happy that I was able to be a part of the donation process.  I only wish I could have been in the room distributing the items as well, but I can't do everything that's why we are a team.

I pretty much hip checked my boss out of the donation process.  "Hey guess what?  You're super busy, so look what I got my dirty little mitts into this time!"  She didn't mind one bit.  I love that I have this feeling of giving back what once was given to me.  As much as I was ashamed of it was a child I no longer mind.  It's these things that make me a humble person.

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