At some point in our journey through life, we all will need a helping hand. Research tells us that helping others in times of distress makes us happy, evokes a feeling of gratitude and improves our health. For team members at Location #20023 in Berlin, New Jersey, helping families who are facing insurmountable challenges was a perfect opportunity to lend a helping hand during the holiday season.
Location Manager Margo Sadowy saw a need in her community, especially within the Lindenwold School District and, even closer to home, with members of her own team. She solicited help from her team members to bring her idea to fruition. Margo and her committee met with District Business Administrator Kathleen Huder to discuss the community engagement project and gathered information on which schools within the district could benefit the most.
Margo asked Teamsters Local #676 Business Administrator Tom Lyons and President Howard Wells, as well as Tim Trotman from MJ Corporation to join FirstGroup on this project. Throughout the month of December, the Location held a bake sale and conducted a weekly split-the-pot drawing to raise money for the project. Team members went even further in their fundraising efforts by donating toys, hats, gloves and monetary gifts. Later the Teamsters stepped forward and donated additional toys and warm coats, while MJ Corporation contributed professional sports team shirts and hats.
At the end of the drive, seven families from Location #20023 received groceries, a certificate for a Christmas dinner turkey and a gift card. The Location filled a 54-passenger bus with more than 100 items and delivered them to the District office. School officials divided the toys and clothing and invited families to come and select 2-3 items for each child in the family.
“Lindenwold School District is extremely grateful for all the generosity shown by First Student to our community,” said Administrator Huder. “Their excitement and genuine sense of caring created a true holiday spirit of giving. The day I accompanied them to deliver the toys was one of my personal favorite memories from this past holiday season.”
The Berlin Location plans to continue their fundraising efforts into the New Year to help offset spring field trip expenses for the school.