Holiday merriment is the perfect precursor to a fresh new year. At FinancialForce, we tend to get pretty festive come December with holiday lights and décor strung quaintly across desks, ugly-sweater contests, and the sweet calorie-dense indulgences seemingly requisite to any of our company meetings or parties.
Recognizing, however, that holidays are often a time of stress for families rather than a source of pure joy, FinancialForce4Good teamed up with the Family House, an organization benefiting families with children who are critically ill, to replace some of that stress with joy and abundance in the lives of deserving families.
We initiated a Secret Santa program wherein we “adopted” a single family of 6 that has received services from the Family House and fulfilled their holiday wish lists. The program gained such company-wide support that we ended up adopting a second family of 4 – we wrapped boxes of new toys, clothes, video games, and gift-cards and sent them off to the two deserving families in time for the holidays.
The wish lists brought many of us back to our childhoods: Goosebumps books, Lion Guard toys, Frozen dolls, an X-box game counsel were among the sought-after items. Parents desired Home Depot gift cards, journals, and coffee pots. When we posted the wish-lists to our company board, some questioned, how can we get a global organization involved in a San Francisco-based effort? Well, thank you technology (Amazon and Paypal)! Presents rolled in the doors and filled an office cubicle to the brim. A pop-up princess play castle was a favorite for passersby. Perhaps it was the holiday spirit and the moving family stories that made fulfilling these lists so fun and perhaps it was also the nostalgia and relatability of the items in demand.
When all the loot was in, we busted out some holiday tunes, put on our elf hats and got to wrapping!
Over 55 worldwide employees contributed time, funds, gifts, and spirit to make this mission a success. We were rewarded with a job well-done and the knowledge that these gifts would provide joy and a sense of normalcy to families whose time and financial resources is otherwise consumed.
When New Year’s Eve rolled around, we received a moving Thank You video from one family, sealing in the fine feeling of community we experienced from this giving event. What a lovely way to ring in a new year.
The Family House
To provide some context to the cause, families with critically ill children suffer not only from implicit emotional pains and the physical pains of the child but often from financial hardships, as resources are devoted to medical care. Often families are required to relocate to be closer to medical providers or simply in an effort to downsize and save costs. The Family House, in conjunction with the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, provides temporary housing and family-centered care for families facing such a crisis.
The two families we adopted, whose privacy we shall protect, undoubtedly know the value of the services provided by the Family House. Visit: http://familyhouseinc.org/ to learn more.