Remember that feeling we all had as children around this time of year, how the first snow of the season brought holiday magic with it? Remember the things that made this time special, like:
- Gathering family from all over.
- Using the oven practically non-stop between the turkey, stuffing, candied yams, pies, and endless batches of cookies.
- Watching old movies that speak of love, family, hope, charity, and kindness.
- Waking up hours before our parents to see what the funny man in the red suit left under the tree.
But not everyone gets to enjoy the holidays. Financial distress, illness, injury, getting laid off of work—all of these and more can lead to a less-than-magical Christmas. Families in these situations often feel like all they can do is watch helplessly as the season passes them by.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Over the past two years, Jive Communications has worked with the United Way’s Sub for Santa program to give a merry Christmas to hundreds of children throughout Utah County (the place our company calls home). Clothes, toys, books, and other items are the most commonly requested donations.
“I can’t imagine how awful I’d feel if I ever had to without on any of the Christmases I had growing up,” said Amanda Hill of HR. “My boyfriend grew up with a single mother and four other siblings. A lot of times they missed out, and he doesn’t wish that on anyone. So it’s been a mutual decision to participate, both this year and last.”
In addition to Jive’s work with the United Way, Jive employees can also nominate families that have fallen on hard times for the ‘Sub for Santa’ treatment. The employees have responded in force and nearly 100 children have been sponsored. Among them are kids of single parents who have no resources, families trying to make sure their children meet their ailing grandparents, cancer patients and others suffering medically, children caught in the middle of a divorce, and foreign refugees in need of basics like toilet paper and rice.
Ben Glasser in Development, when asked about his participation in the program, said: “I nominated a friend of mine who has fallen on hard times. Jive approved, so I sponsored them. She has a five-year-old little boy, and she was pretty excited when she found out what I did. She was really grateful and mentioned that Jive had saved her son’s Christmas.”
Another example of Jive’s atmosphere of giving includes Jim Bradshaw, VP of Software, who for years has proposed and participated in programs like Sub for Santa. He and his family can be found on Christmas morning serving breakfast to the homeless.
To help encourage participation in these community-building initiatives, Jive offers to reimburse employees who go out and make a little Christmas magic happen.
“It’s amazing,” said Amanda, “that our CEO finds giving back to the community so important and allots a generous sum of company money so that all employees can participate.”
A bestselling author once wrote: “Hope is a force of nature. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.” I’d argue that the chance to give hope, especially around this time of year, is an even greater one.