Spreading Joy this Holiday Season
‘Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.’
~ Kathy Calvin, President & CEO of the United Nations Foundation
Each quarter, PMG Employees make it our purpose to do our part in this crazy world we live in and do something good for someone in need. Each quarter feels a little different to everyone, depending on where you’ve been and what you’ve seen in your life.
Our Year in Review
In Q1 this year, a team of 12 of us threw on our most ridiculous onesie pajama’s and jumped into a frozen lake to support Special Olympics of Minnesota. My interest in Special Olympics stems back to my early childhood, when my best friends’ brother, Jeffie, was a participant. In high school, I volunteered at a Special Olympics camp held at Iowa State University, and helped Olympians practice their desired sports, cheered them on, and just let them be them for a few days – no judgement, no second glances, no questions!
For Q2, we partnered with a local mom who created a non-profit (Sweet Dreams for Kids) after her youngest daughter was born with cancer and spent the next several years in and out of hospitals. We purchased pajamas and donated them to kids in hospitals, giving them an opportunity to feel a little bit more like a normal kid during a time of uncertainty, fear, discomfort, and what I can only imagine, unbelievable hopefulness. As a mother myself, my gratitude for my kids’ health cannot be put into words. I’m thankful every single day for their health, their comfort, and the incredible hope that they will never have to experience such uncertainty and fear.
Recently, Q3 nicely coincided with the start of the school year. We joined forces with Kids in Need Minnesota to not only stock them up with all the school supplies Minnesota children should need, but 18 of us also donated two hours of our time to pack 1,231 backpacks for those same children. Remembering back to my early school years, my parents lived paycheck to paycheck. I remember not having the best of school supplies (often handed down from one of my older sisters). It might sound silly, but the difference between brand-named crayons and generic crayons really did make a difference to a child. I remember that feeling of dread and embarrassment so vividly and I vowed to never allow my kids to have that same unnecessary shame, no matter how immaterial that sounds.
To close out the calendar year, we are teaming up with an organization called FamilyWise, whose mission is ‘strengthening families by promoting the safety, stability, and well-being of children.’ Through their Adopt-A-Family program, we have adopted three families this holiday season:
- We have an 18-year-old woman who just went back to school this fall and is expecting a child in early 2020. She currently lives with her mother and four younger siblings.
- Then, we have twin sisters in their mid-20’s who have five children between them and are looking forward to purchasing a home in 2020.
- Finally, we have a young mother of four who just moved to Minnesota to be closer to family. They will be experiencing their first Minnesota winter (starting this week if the weather man has it right).
For each of these families, I choked up going through their wish lists. While there is the sporadic request for a board game, slime making kit, or some sort of electronic device, the majority of their requests are basic human necessities: socks, personal hygiene supplies, warm winter mittens, hats, and boots.
I’m honored to share, that through an anonymous donation, we will easily be able to purchase everything on their wish lists and more. Knowing that 19 women, boys, and girls will be smiling from ear to ear on Christmas morning is a gift in and of itself, and knowing that I have some little part in that is so incredibly fulfilling.
Working for a company whose mission is literally to help people on a daily basis, these special little side projects are so rewarding. I hope you’ll take a moment this holiday season to think about someone less fortunate than you, and without putting thought into how they got to where they are or passing judgement on their situation, just consider doing something good, something that will make a difference.
Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!
If you’re interested in learning more about FamilyWise, check out their website at www.familywiseservices.org
About the Author
Beth Bangtson, HR Manager