There are many reasons why I love my job. Besides the nature of our business, I like working alongside co-workers who are passionate about what they do and are kind and generous people.
Each December, teams and departments from across C&A join together to reach out, infuse joy, and make the season just a little bit brighter for hundreds upon hundreds of people throughout the community. It’s safe to say most all of our employees participate in some way, whether volunteering their time, shopping for gifts, or writing a check.
We call our Holiday giving initiative “AurElves”. To explain, the prefix plays off of the names of several of our company divisions that also begin with “Aur”.
This year, our many AurElves touched the lives of children, struggling families, senior citizens, and other men and women in need. Some are homeless, some have sought shelter from domestic violence, some have children undergoing medical treatment, and others just need to know that someone cares.
Here’s a glimpse into the Holiday magic that took place. Then read on to learn more about our specific efforts.
2010 QUICK STATS:
- 3,500 diapers donated
- Thousands of meals served
- 76 individuals adopted
- More than $800 cash donated
- Hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food items donated
- Clothing, paper and health products donated
- Craft items donated
- Through community specific events, collected thousands in cash donations and hundreds of pounds of food donated
- Hosted a craft hour with children
- Sponsored a holiday party
- Stocked and cleaned pantries/kitchens at shelters
- Decorated facilities for the holidays
- Assisted individuals shop for gifts for their children
- Donated teddy bears, craft items and gifts for stocking stuffers
AURELVES IN ACTION:
Aureus Medical Divisions:
- Rehabilitation Therapy and Speech Branches volunteered at the Open Door Mission/Timberlake Outreach Center. One team member noted, “Once we arrived we were immediately inspired to do what we could to help. After meeting with the volunteer coordinator we learned how important their services are to those in need. Our first task was to compile 300 sack meals for the overnight visitors they expected. I was really impressed to see how quickly the team broke up and started helping out. Everyone pitched in however possible, from mopping the kitchen floors to serving dinner. Before the afternoon was over, we were already talking about when we could help out again.”
- Quality Assurance Team and Physician Search Division decorated the MICAH House in Council Bluffs for the Holidays.
- Medical Laboratory Branch donated 2,400 diapers to the Lydia House, a shelter for women.
- Radiology Branch adopted a family through the organization, Angels Among Us. The family has a 6 year-old girl who has been battling cancer for several years.
- Radiology Branch visited the Children’s Respite Center and presented them with a gift card to Target, which they planned to use to buy presents for the kids and given to them at their Holiday party.
- FocusOne Solutions adopted the same thankful family they have adopted for the last several years; nine children (ages 1 – 17).
- Cardiopulmonary Branch, with the help of AurStaff and Sonja Markle, worked with the Stephen Center, which partners with the community, families and individuals to overcome homelessness, addiction, and poverty. The team provided a chili lunch for more than 40 residents on December 17, including pies, corn bread, chips, and cookies for the rest of the day. The team also collected non-perishable food items and other necessities; delivered more than three SUV loads of donated clothes and supplies; and Hy-Vee provided a grocery cart full of donated food.
- Nursing – East Branch helped out at the Salvation Army Toyland event on Friday, December 17. They assisted parents, grandparents, and guardians who had registered for the program as they gathered gifts for their children.
- Nursing – SW Branch donated 1,092 diapers for the Lydia House.
- Nursing – Mountain West and Advance Practice teams volunteered at the Food Bank for the third year in a row sorting food in the warehouse. One team member noted, “It is an honor to give back to the community and help an organization that greatly impacts the less fortunate.”
- Nursing – Midwest Branch hosted a craft hour at Children’s Hospital.
- Nursing – California and Midwest Branches – adopted a family with a very sick six year-old child (“Meme”) who was born with Chronic Ideopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction. He has undergone two transplants, suffered from organ rejection, and endured many surgeries. He is now dealing with graft-versus-host rejection and recently decided that he would rather, “dance with the angels” than be put through more treatment. He’s been given only six more months to live. The branches raised more than $400 dollars and received a $50 gift card donation from the Amazing Pizza Machine. The branches purchased personal items for “Meme” and also gifts for his mother and sisters. Said one team member, “When meeting Meme, it was hard to believe that he had gone through as much as was told to us. His spirit was uplifting, he was full of personality, and he made us all laugh. His mother said this was the first Christmas in six years that she is able to spend with all three of her children together. A bitter sweet Christmas.”
- Administrative Team served lunch at the Open Door Mission. Stacey Steyskal indicated that the people they served were so thankful and appreciative of them being there to help.
- Des Monies Branch volunteered for the Combat Hunger Food Drive sponsored by Des Moines radio station STAR 102.5. Adam McCoy and Ben Nunnikhoven joined many other premier Des Moines employers on Thursday Nov. 18, 2010, and collected thousands in cash donations and more than seven pallets of food. All donations went directly to the Food Bank of Iowa.
- Lincoln Branch adopted a family of four through Matt Talbot’s Kitchen, providing the family an uncooked Thanksgiving meal. The team also adopted the same family for Christmas.
- Omaha Branch served meals at the Open Door Mission.
Purchased gifts and stocking stuffers for the Siena Francis House.
Worked with Cooper Village in Omaha, which provides a highly structured academic and residential psychiatric treatment for boys aged 12 to 18.
There were 45 children in need this year. Aureus Group put together individual gift baskets containing a number of items that were a combination of fun and practical.
In past years, Aureus Group provided Cooper Village with a projector television and a couple of Wii councils. This year they purchased four additional Wii games and a ping pong table for their community room. The kids will also be rewarded for good behavior through tickets to UNO, Creighton, and Omaha Lancer sporting events. Along with the gifts, the team threw the kids a Holiday party.
None of this would have been possible without the contributions made by Aureus Group employees who were kind enough to contribute anything they could to help these kids have a happy Holiday. Along with Aureus Group, corporate sponsors provided donations, including Costco, CVS Pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Subway, Mr. Goodcents, Scheels, UNO, and Creighton.
- Executive Team served lunch at the Open Door Mission on December 10.
- Chris Orsborn, Natalie Nowak, Barb Ely, Lori Wolf and Dana Gross volunteered their time at the Salvation Army. They registered families for aid during the Holidays (groceries and Christmas gifts for their children through the Adopt-a-Family program featured on Omaha radio station 104.5.)
- B&I team provided craft supplies to Ted E Bear Hollow to be used during their Tinsel & Tears day camps for children grieving from the loss of a loved one.
- Training & Development adopted a family of five through the YWCA.
- Marketing Department donated blankets to the Lydia House and will be serving a meal at the Open Door Mission
- IS / IT teams donated 20 teddy bears to Children’s World Daycare and Respite Center for their Christmas party. On December 1, a group of employees, spouses, and children donated their time at the Open Door Mission. They were immediately put to work, serving food, cleaning out the pantry and washing dishes. The teams also sponsored a family with six children from the Salvation Army. When talking with the mother about their needs, she indicated all she wanted and needed were groceries, nothing special for herself. The team had fun shopping for all six kids’ clothes and a fun gift. They also included a grocery card.
Many thanks to our AurElves Coordinator, Chris Orsborn, for spearheading a very successful AurElves 2010 and for providing this recap of the remarkable and collective efforts of C&A employees.
I like to think we have something special at C&A. In fact, I know we do.
About Mary Carrick:
Mary is a Sr. Communications Specialist with C&A Industries. In her role, she’s responsible for crafting copy for internal and external audiences, coordinating public relations efforts, co-producing videos, and various other special projects. Outside of her career at C&A, she’s a professional singer, an actress, and a mom.