A couple weeks ago my wife Cyndi and I were waiting at the airport and began talking about the season, which led to thinking about holiday gifts. As we were talking Cyndi and I looked up at the nearby television, and we saw again the devastation of Staten Island, New York, parts of Queens and New Jersey, along the path of Hurricane Sandy. And here we were, warm and comfortable, waiting for an airplane that would take us to our warm, dry home -- quite comfortably discussing holiday gift-giving.
We looked at one another, and both agreed that this year we must include a holiday gift for the people on the East Coast affected by the storm.
When Katrina destroyed so much of Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, Shamrock people got together to raise money for those affected by the hurricane. We have a special employee committee that plans events to raise funds for organizations that serve the needs of people in our community. But sometimes, as in the case of Katrina in 2005, and now, in the aftermath of Sandy, this committee plans events to provide assistance way beyond our immediate community to include our distant neighbors.
To raise funds for Katrina, the committee arranged a Dunk Bob Tank Day. We've all seen these tanks filled with water and a chair. The designated person sits in the chair and if he or she is hit with a ball by one of the participants, the designated one splashes into the water. For Katrina we raised $10,000. (Someone suggested we do a Dunk Bob Tank Day for Sandy. I vetoed this idea, since right now it's darn cold outside. But, the committee is planning an event for the holiday season that will raise funds to assist the people on the East Coast.)
While the devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi was similar to the devastation in areas along the east coast, there are also differences. Especially in the parishes affected in New Orleans, many of the people hit by the storm had very little to begin with. Simple things such as clean, warm, used clothing were very meaningful to them. The needs on the East Coast may be somewhat different. I believe we should be sensitive to the different needs of various people when thinking about gift giving.
The same holds true for holiday gifts. In addition to gifts for the East Coast survivors and their families, our employees will receive a holiday gift and we will still have a holiday party -- as always. And as always, our planning team will think carefully to choose a gift that will be of equal joy to every recipient. So the gift must be something that can be used by everyone, from those who work on the floors of our warehouse to those who sit behind the doors of management team.
ONE LAST THING...Thinking about the right gift takes time, but when you make the right decision it's priceless!