The Gift of Giving
Updated: Jan 13
The winter holidays are approaching, and as we move from Thanksgiving into the holiday season, we take this opportunity to reflect on how businesses take time to give. The act of giving at this time of the year is focused on others. People give presents to loved ones, neighbors, work associates and even strangers in need. We share inspirational ideas ways you can give to your community!
Before, we take a look at amazing companies that stand out in central Florida, let’s take a look at a treasured book some of our readers will remember: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.
In the event you may not know the story, here is a refresher: A boy grows up visiting a tall tree, the tree loves the boy and offers his branches to the boy to swing from, a trunk to climb and apples to snack on.
As the boy grows older things become less simple and the boy can no longer play. But the tree continues to ask what she can do for him to make him happy. He offers the boy her apples to sell to get money and use her branches to build a house for his family.
The boy comes back to the tree and all that is left is the trunk. The tree gives, what she believes, is the last gift to offer -- her trunk. The boy (now a mature elderly man) uses it to craft a boat and sails far away.
Time passes and the boy later comes back for his last visit to the loving tree. Too old to climb and play, the tree offers the last gift she can provide. Her stump so the ‘boy’ can rest.
Both the tree and boy are happy.
Not All Acts Of Giving Are Typical Presents.
What is the takeaway from the story? There is always something we can do for another person; even if it feels like there is nothing to give. It’s important to know in life that the act of giving doesn’t have to be the traditional present.
America is home to a significant amount of cultures and religions. Through differences there is at least one thing that they have in common...Giving. Think back to how you were raised and what acts of giving you saw in your culture’s community or more closely, how your parents give.
In Buddhism, the phrase “Dana” is the action of sharing or selfless giving. “Sweat Dana” refers to giving by more physical actions such as working in a soup kitchen or doing a construction project. In Christianity, many concepts of giving are based off of the Old Testament. In history, Christian followers were known for instituting schools, hospitals and other social services in the community. “Zakat” is the 3rd Pillar of Islam, which is giving an amount of money/goods to those struggling based off of their income. This would include the needy and poor.
Why Businesses Give.
Some people believe that giving is a social responsibility. When a large group of people come together and give to those who are in need of help, the community can flourish. This is one of the reasons why it’s important for businesses to give. We have seen the funds that have been raised by large companies, donated to charities, and the difference it makes to people and the community. The impact is seen in numerous areas that touch the lives of people. It is seen in the donations for health research, building homes, animal shelters and arts/culture.
Orlando Business Journal’s 2019 Corporate Philanthropy Awards acknowledges companies that give to those in need in the community. The awards program, now in its fourth year, recognized 11 companies and two individuals who have demonstrated personal and professional dedication in the support of social and charitable causes.
The honorees represent a cross-section of the local business community that supports charities through corporate-sanctioned giving and volunteer programs. The 2019 Philanthropist of the Year Award went to founder and CEO of 4R Restaurant Group John Rivers, who summed it up best: "It doesn't take a lot of money or a corporation to make an impact in someone's life."
There are many other companies that believe in creating a culture of giving, here are some companies who are reputable for doing service work:
Publix Supermarkets is known for its contributions to the community on a large and small scale. Aside for their corporate campaigns with United Way, Special Olympics, and more, they have a Publix Serves Day. This event is an annual fall tradition where associates can volunteer at numerous locations throughout the community. Volunteering activities include doing garden work, building a home with local nonprofits, stocking shelves at a food bank and more.
OnlineLabels is a company in Lake Mary who takes pride in giving in the workplace and in the community. Lisa .F., explains they have volunteered at Ronald McDonald House, animal shelters, helps build houses and recently made Valentines Day cards for folks at the senior center. They are a reputable company known for taking care of their employees and giving them a fun, creative and friendly work space.
At Panera Bread, baked goods like breads, bagels, muffins and pastries can only sit on the shelves for one day. Instead of tossing unsold items at closing time, Panera donates them to any tax-exempt rescue mission, food pantry, food banks, soup kitchen, meal delivery program, senior center, nursing home, school or church with a need through Panera’s Day-End Dough-Nation program. Organizations just need to complete an application online and coordinate pickup of the items once approved.
Not only has Dr. David Lach of Lach Orthodontic Specialists Orlando helped transform nearly 20,000 smiles in the almost 25 years that he has been practicing, but he also gives back to the community he serves. Dr. Lach created the Smiles for Hope Foundation to provide scholarships for orthodontic care to children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access the necessary assistance for their smile needs.
&Barr takes spread the joy by engaging their employees to give and spread joy in a personalized way. Rather than give our clients a pricey holiday gift, we sent them the cheapest card possible—so we could do something really valuable. We took the money we were going to spend on gifts and, instead, gave that money to our team. With #40forMore, our 40 team members donated to their favorite causes. And proved it’s better to give than receive.
At Premiere Orthodontics, Dr. Jason Battle is known for delivering amazing smiles to his patients. He also knows the importance of giving back in his personal life and in his business. For the past two years, Dr. Jason Battle has volunteered with Kiwanis clubs in Avalon Park and Dr. Phillips, reading to elementary school children as well as gathering Halloween costumes, Christmas presents and school supplies for kids. He has also spent two years volunteering with Give Kids the World in any capacity it needs, from scooping ice cream to helping with events.
Want to create a culture of giving in your company? There are many ways for your business to support the community that involves more than just writing a check:
Enter a float in an annual parade or help decorate the town at Christmas
Donate the use of a delivery vehicle or other resources for a local function
Offer your business services, when relevant, at a local event
Have coin donation boxes and/or sell tickets for a charity event at your business locations
Donate a portion of your sales to a charity on a particular day or for a specific period of time
Give a charitable or community group a meeting or workspace on your business premises for free
The act of giving is encouraged to be done throughout the year but as a time of reflection it is a good way to evaluate how much you currently give and if there is anything more you can do. But it’s good to remember that even small deeds can make a big difference.