Can you believe the end of the year is almost here??? It’s hard to believe that time has gone by so fast and that 2020 is almost over.
The year’s end often inspires us to look back and take stock of all of the blessings we’ve received. In a year marred by one unimaginable tragedy after another, however, it’s understandably harder to be thankful and keep positive with the home stretch of 2020 upon us.
The holiday season, unfortunately, might not be quite the solution to the pandemic blues we hoped for, as this year is proving to be especially difficult given the state of the pandemic economy. With businesses sadly shuttering — both temporarily and for good — due to the pandemic, many have found themselves in varying levels of financial insecurity as unemployment numbers have hit levels not seen since the Great Depression.
For those of us that have been fortunate enough to weather the storm thus far, it’s more important this year than any other to share those blessings with those in our communities that have been hit hardest.
FG|PG for Good & The Priority Center
In 2019, through our company’s charitable initiative FG|PG for Good, we forged a partnership with The Priority Center (formerly known as the Child Abuse Prevention Center), an Orange County-based organization that provides services to at-risk families and families in crisis due to generational trauma and child abuse.
Through our partnership, we had the honor to host The Priority Center’s Families Helping Families gift drive-thru from our headquarters in Huntington Beach. Through the Families Helping Families initiative, The Priority Center collected donations of Christmas gifts, food, and gift cards from the community to distribute to 300 local families most in need this year.
Families in need were able to submit wish lists to TPC, of which donors were able to adopt families and fulfill those wishes, as well as contribute cash donations. The generosity of donors was overwhelming and abundant; one very generous contributor, in particular, was able to adopt and fulfill wish lists for eighty families, and enough money was donated to provide an additional $100 gift card to each family.
In the week leading up to the drive-thru, TPC volunteers utilized our warehouse space to organize, sort, and wrap up all of the donated gifts by family, for distribution on Saturday, December 12. During the drive-thru event, families were lined up as early as 7:00 AM at the FG|PG warehouse and were given their gifts through contactless pick-up service provided by TPC’s volunteer elves wearing masks and face shields. Hot chocolate and apple cider were served to families in their cars as they waited, and even Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped by to greet the families.
Our very own Chief Financial Officer, Melanie Chomchavalit, and her family were on hand to help with the gift distribution. When asked about her experience, she told us:
It was truly amazing to see all of the gifts that were donated; it speaks a lot to the generosity of the community given the challenging circumstances everyone has faced this year. During the morning rush of families coming to pick up their gifts, we had fun working with the volunteers and helping to hand gifts out to the families as they drove up. It was nice to see people so happy as they arrived and received the items they are in need of, and some just to bring joy to their children’s faces this holiday season.
When asked about giving back to the community, Melanie also provided this insight:
It was so wonderful to be able to share our warehouse space with The Priority Center for this event, which also turned out to be a more comfortable environment for the volunteers to be able to serve the community amidst a pandemic, and with every safety precaution taken – it was important to us that everyone felt safe. Unfortunately, our warehouse and shop have seen little use due to COVID’s effects on the live event industry; however, we are fortunate that we had the space to share with them. We would love to be able to host The Priority Center again in the future, and will hopefully be able to involve more of our own employees to help.
When you can give back, no matter what it is, it’s the right thing to do, whether you’re donating time, money, or a safe space. It makes you feel good knowing you helped someone that truly needs it. Volunteering put things into perspective and reminded us that, even when we feel like we are struggling, there is always going to be someone who needs more and that we should make an effort to help however we can.
The Importance of Charitable Giving: A Win-Win for All
In a season like this, where hardships have befallen a staggering percent of the country due to the pandemic economy, sharing our blessings and resources with those less fortunate is more important than ever.
Charity organizations that have seen skyrocketing giving statistics have been food banks. According to Feeding America’s website, “more than 80 percent, or 4 in 5, food banks are serving more people now than they did a year ago”. The need for these services has never been greater, and the emotions surrounding these needs are understandably more heightened during the holidays.
The heightened need has not been lost on the country, as charitable giving has seen an overall increase this year. According to this report from Marketplace, ahead of Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Black Friday/Cyber Monday earmarked for charitable giving), “people are giving more than in previous years, in particular to food banks, to groups that focus on housing and to mutual aid groups, which are more grassroots efforts, neighbors helping neighbors.”
It’s widely known, however, that giving doesn’t just benefit the recipient; those that give charitably benefit greatly as well (and no, we’re not talking about tax deductions). As this collection of studies shows, research has proven time and again that giving charitably to others improves the giver’s quality of life mentally and emotionally. Essentially, you’ll that you become happier and more emotionally fulfilled when you help others in need. In a win-win situation like this, why not give it a try?
How to Give Safely
During a pandemic, holiday giving has proven to be logistically challenging, especially when many restrictions are tightening up due to the recent surge of cases throughout the country. Many charitable organizations have been struggling with staffing due to the pandemic, adding additional stress in a season when the need is so much greater than usual.
The need, however, is still there, and there are many ways to safely do so. According to this New York Times article, one way to give is to donate money online to charities that typically would take donations in-person. Technology has made it so much faster and safer to transfer money through the internet, and many charities are now able to accept monetary donations electronically.
Giving, of course, is not just restricted to those with abundance. Charitable giving is also now built into e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon’s Amazon Smile program, where users can give to charity when shopping for necessities. If your financial situation doesn’t currently allow for you to donate right now and it’s safe for you to do so, volunteering your time to help local food banks and other organizations is a great way to do so as well.
At the end of the day, giving back to those in need – no matter how big or small the contribution – benefits everyone. Especially in these trying times, we encourage everyone to count their blessings and give where they can. When you give, everyone wins!