Gratitude for Giving Back: Our Annual Lunchtime Celebration

29GiftsEvery year around Thanksgiving, we like to get together a room full of our employees who took the lead on one (or more!) of our Giving Back initiatives for a lunchtime celebration. It’s our way of saying thank you for making a difference in the lives of others. Thank you for your enthusiasm and for your commitment to community. It’s a feel-good occasion, for sure.

Paula O’Shaughnessy, who oversees our employee-led Giving Back program, coordinates this special event. Also invited are her fellow stewards from the Commonwealth Cares board—Wayne Bloom, Peter Wheeler, and Gavin Morrissey—who get to sit back and enjoy the stories our Giving Back leaders have to share about the initiatives they helped pull together. Things like:

  • Partnering with Birthday Wishes to host monthly birthday parties for children living in homeless shelters—brightening their day in a big way (as well as their parents’ spirits)
  • Organizing an epic, two-day bake sale, raising nearly $5,000 for cancer research, as well as for the Ryan Mancini Charitable Foundation
  • Leading the charge on two amazing send-off parties for our Make-A-Wish kids on both coasts.
  • Collecting hundreds of pairs of shoes to send to Sustainable World Fund, which are then sold to entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa, keeping shoes out of U.S. landfills while creating a revenue stream
  • Selling nearly 12 dozen pies to support Community Servings’ Pie in the Sky program, which provides meals to clients who are homebound with acute, life-threatening illnesses
  • Partnering with the James P. Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, Massachusetts, to serve as pen pals and positive role models for school children through its Promising Pals program
  • Reading to elementary school students (Read to a Child in Waltham and Rolling Readers in San Diego) in a one-on-one setting to help improve literacy skills and forge a friendly bond

And that just scratches the surface of all the good things we’ve done over the past year!

As volunteers, we all know the true reward in these selfless good deeds is in knowing that you’ve touched the life of another person in a meaningful way. But, on behalf of the Commonwealth Cares board, we like to leave our Giving Back champions with a token of our appreciation, too. This year, we handed out copies of the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life—inspiring reading for an inspiring crowd.

Of course, we’d be remiss not to thank the hundreds of employees who support all of these initiatives. The spirit of community service is vibrant and alive at Commonwealth!

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