Bringing Christmas Spirit into Corporate Social Responsibility
The Christmas season was fast approaching and Marg and Allan Skinner, owners of The Office Source Solutions Inc. were considering how to celebrate the holidays with their employees. In previous years, they hosted a formal dinner, but this year, more than ever, Marg and Allan wanted to provide their employees with a more meaningful celebration. The couple discussed it with their employees and all agreed to forego the traditional company Christmas dinner, and instead donate the money to children and families living with serious financial challenges.
Catherine LeBlanc, CCAS’s Manager of Administrative Services has been working on CCAS office refurbishment projects with Office Source for more than four years. She says that for the Skinners, it’s not just about developing a corporate relationship. “They understand the challenges of our work and want to contribute in a way that directly impacts the families we serve. They are truly compassionate about our cause,” says Catherine, who adds that choosing to work with socially responsible companies, such as Office Source, is a part of CCAS’s commitment to ethical purchasing.
Catherine introduced the Adopt-a-Family program to the Skinners and connected them with the Hope for Children Foundation. They loved the program and the idea of purchasing gifts for children and families. “It’s a tangible way to make a difference in a child’s life, and it allows our employees to actively participate in the giving process,” says Allan.
After receiving their anonymous family’s Christmas wish lists, Office Source employees were separated into groups and given money to purchase gifts for their families. Marg and Allan closed the office for the afternoon so that employees could go shopping. When employees Natalie Socha and Catherine Tanner saw their families’ Christmas wish lists, they were shocked! “We couldn’t believe that families were asking for everyday life essentials such as children’s winter coats and boots, and food for Christmas dinner, as part of their Christmas wish list,” says Natalie.
Mary Bowyer, Executive Director of the Hope for Children Foundation, says that this is a reality for many of the children and families served by CCAS. “Many of our families struggle financially throughout the year, and the Christmas holidays add an extra financial burden, making it even more overwhelming.”
Following the afternoon of shopping, Office Source employees returned to their workplace to share with the rest of their colleagues the gifts they had purchased for their adopted families. “It was truly inspirational to hear about all the families, their struggles, and most of all, their hopes and dreams for Christmas,” says Catherine. After their presentation, Marg and Allan hosted their employees with a catered dinner. “It was our way of thanking them for their wonderful Christmas spirit,” says Marg.
The company posed for a group photograph with all of the gifts they had purchased and used it as their company Christmas card. “We got calls from suppliers, thanking us for doing this instead of sending them a box of chocolates. It felt wonderful!” says Marg.
In total, Office Source adopted 6 families last year and spent more than $6,000 on gifts. This year, the company has pledged the same level of support, and preparations are already underway.
The Office Source and other generous donors contributed more than $400,000 in gift-in-kind donations to children and families through the Adopt-a-Family program.
Learn more about our Adopt-a-Family program here.