Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Giving Back this Holiday Season with a Helping Hand

The holiday season is really a time for reflection of what you are thankful for in your life.   The holiday season is also a time when people like to help those less fortunate.    Being on the philanthropic team at Groupon, called The G-Team, we decided to spend our team holiday party not at a restaurant or bar, but giving back to those less fortunate. 
Our holiday party was spent at Inspiration Corporation's Holiday Party where we all volunteered to help serve food to the people Inspiration Corporation serves in Chicago.   Each one of us was assigned a dish to serve to the attendees.   Unfortunately my dish was not a favorite (lentil soup) but nevertheless, the smiles on the individuals faces were priceless!  It truly was a wonderful experience and my team had a blast.   

While I served food to over 400 individuals, I found myself in awe of how friendly, nice, warm, and appreciative the people were to us as we served them hot food.   I found myself overwhelmed halfway through the party when I saw kids eyes light up when Santa Claus made a guest appearance at the party. Santa came early with gifts that had been donated by volunteers and community partners of the organization.   At that moment I realized how truly lucky I am.  Lucky to be able to eat food whenever I want, take trips, have a roof over my head, purchase clothing, and able to provide gifts for others.  I admit, I forget how lucky I really am and I am so glad that I was reminded because of this experience.   It is easy to get caught up in the craziness of life and I appreciate this experiences that bring me back down to the ground leaving me humbled once again.    
One thing I love most about volunteering is the joy volunteering brings to others.   There is no medicine, food, or product that can give you the same feeling you receive after you have brightened someone's day.   That is my drug and I am so glad I was able to see firsthand how Inspiration Corporation is making a difference in Chicago to help bring people out of homelessness.    
In 2010, the G-Team featured Inspiration Corporation on Groupon for subscriber's to donate money to build their social enterprise training program and restaurant in Garfield Park.   Read more about their campaign http://www.groupon.com/deals/inspiration-corporation.   Their campaign was a success and we still keep in touch with them.Inspiration Cafe Holiday Party truly special for our participants

Each year, Inspiration Corporation helps hundreds of homeless and low-income individuals gain the skills to succeed in the workforce and increase self sufficiency. We provide career services, employment preparation training, food service training, tuition subsidies, job placement and retention support, free voice mail and more.  In an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Inspiration Corporation provides restaurant-style meals, individualized case management, support groups and other resources that help individuals address the root causes of their homelessness and poverty and build greater self-reliance, stability and quality of life.   By providing permanent supportive housing, Inspiration Corporation helps homeless individuals and families regain stability and rebuild their lives.  Learn more about how they end homelessness.

Photo from Inspiration Corporation

Sometimes it is important for you to give back to those less fortunate, whether it is through monetary means, time, or resources.   If we all contribute in some way, an impact can be made.   My team chose to save the money we would spend on our holiday party and gave our time to help make a holiday party happen for our community partner.

How are you giving back this Holiday Season?   Have you ever heard of Inspiration Corporation?

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