The closer we get to the holidays, the more excited I get for everything that makes the holiday season the best season. It’s a time to give presents, open presents, sit by the fireplace and tell stories, go outside and make snow angels, eat yummy gingerbread cookies, and spend precious time with loved ones.
It’s also a time when people around the world are more likely to remember to give to others. This is the main reason why the holiday season is my favorite time of year. Growing up, I was always taught that the holidays are a time to help others. Not everyone has a family to go home to–or even a home for celebrating the holidays.
Every holiday season, Ecosystems also has a heart for helping the community. I’ve been working at Ecosystems for almost nine years now. Other than the great relationships that I’ve built with customers and coworkers, what has kept me here so long? Ecosystems’ dedication to helping the community.
A few years ago, Ecosystems decided that the holidays were a great time to give back to the community. We brainstormed ideas such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, bringing clothes to a shelter, giving toys to the less fortunate, making food and handing it out to the less fortunate. We wanted to do more than an activity—we wanted to do something more meaningful that would allow us to meet others and build long-term relationships.
Years ago, Ecosystems chose to build a long-term relationship with the community by partnering with Homestretch, an organization in Northern Virginia that helps homeless families become self-sufficient in less than two years. We were working with Homestretch on different programs, when we asked if they had a holiday program that we could help with. That’s when they told us about the Adopt-a-Family program.
In the Adopt-a-Family program, Homestretch first paired our company with a family receiving Homestretch’s support. They sent us information about the family, such as number of family members, their ages, and a list of items that were on the family’s wish list. Homestretch told us we could choose which items we would like to purchase for the family.
Ecosystems decided to purchase all of the items. We bought the gifts, wrapped them, then chose a day where all of Eco could go to the family’s apartment to deliver the gifts. It was very important for each of us to meet the family and get to know them.
From this activity and other activities that have included delivering gifts to families, I have learned that these families in need are usually asking for necessities. The list includes fewer toys and more practical items such as diapers, Tupperware, toilet paper, and winter clothes.
Every year, when we look at the list and meet the families, it reminds us of how important it is to give during the holiday season. It’s a time to value each other and to give back to our communities.