’Tis The Season — For Giving!

Posted by Kevin Iwamoto on 12/15/2015

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Happy holidays everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already the end of 2015 — which means that the most wonderful time of the year is here again!

The holidays are a joyous time for most of us, but it’s not as happy for the unfortunate folks who are down on their luck, lost a job or loved ones, or are homeless and facing exposure to the elements during the colder months.

However, it’s the perfect opportunity for those of us in our industry to show compassion and generosity. We’re given so much throughout the year — and frankly, almost all of us can afford to lend a hand.

Even if you don’t have money to donate, you can contribute in many other ways. Here are some charitable activities that you and your family can participate in to share some love and goodwill during the holidays:

1)    Donate your time. Work tends to slow down during the holiday season, so volunteer your time with charitable organizations, homeless shelters, domestic abuse shelters, etc. Some companies, as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR), even have paid, organized volunteer activities as part of their company culture — so employees can make the time to volunteer even for a couple of hours. You can make a world of difference to those who need help.
2)    Hotel soaps, lotions and amenities. Admit it, you’ve collected dozens of these items during the course of the year on business and personal trips. Now’s the time to donate them to local charities and shelters; there are plenty of people who could use them more than you. As a bonus, it helps you unclutter your bathroom cabinets!
3)    Airline amenity kits. Many people who fly in business class or premium economy have collected a lot of amenity kits, filled with tissues, lotion, toothbrushes, combs, socks, etc. Donate them to local charities and shelters as well — they’re a godsend to people who are in need of basic comfort items.
4)    Tradeshow marketing collectibles. Of course, you’ve collected backpacks, tote bags, T-shirts, reusable water bottles, pens, paper, etc. from all of the various meetings and events you’ve attended throughout the year. Donate them to schools and education organizations — there are many teachers who would love to help recycle and use these items.
5)    Professional clothing. So many people need decent winter clothing — spend a few minutes cleaning out your closet and donate professional, warm clothing to charities that specialize in helping people who are in-between jobs or down on their luck. A decent wardrobe can help them go to job interviews with confidence — and style.
6)    Support our military veterans and active duty personnel. Do what I always do — give to the Wounded Warrior Project or other military charities. We don’t do enough for our wounded vets and their families — and even $20 helps — so give generously to those who have given of themselves in keeping our country free. And pay it forward for active duty personnel, especially whenever you see them at a Starbucks, or even at the airport. Buy them a coffee or a meal to say “thank you for your service.” For those of you seated in first class — when you see a soldier in uniform on board, offer them your seat. Many times, they’re heading off to active duty — and are not guaranteed or even sure that they’ll return.
7)    Animals. Admittedly, I’m a bleeding heart for our furry friends. They can bring so much joy and happiness into people’s lives — but so many are abandoned, homeless, abused and ignored. You can donate time at an animal shelter to help care for them, or contribute to the Humane Society, SPCA or other animal welfare organizations. Even a little donation can go a long way!

These are some of the ways that I celebrate the holiday season — and I find tremendous joy through giving. I recommend taking some time to reflect on how grateful we should all be, working in this wonderful industry that’s well-known for its charity and generosity. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this industry for so many years, and I’m grateful for everything it has done for me. ’Tis the season for giving from the heart, and for charitable actions and contributions.

Thank you for supporting my blog in 2015. I truly appreciate my readers, and I’m already planning next year’s posts to keep you informed and entertained!

Happy holidays to everyone — wishing you all a happy and safe 2016!

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