My life seems to follow a cycle every few months. I will get very busy, be totally consumed with charity events and as my schedule calms down and I come up for air, I realize that I have been neglectful of my personal life. This past weekend was one of those times so I spent some quality time catching up. Although we are well past the holiday season, my photos still need to be organized with the best ones need to be posted on Facebook as a way to catch up my family and friends. My almost 6 year old daughter Brittany is growing up so fast – when you have kids, time seems to fly by at warp speed. As I went through my holiday photos, I got caught up in the stories and circumstances behind each one and started to see a recurring theme where my “charity me” was not so far away from my “personal me”.
As I look at a Chanukah picture of my husband and daughter illuminated by the candles of the menorah, I notice that my daughter is wearing her striped peace sign shirt and think about the day we bought that shirt as a “Thank You” to Old Navy. Generally, I am not an Old Navy shopper, but this past December, three Long Island Old Navy locations agreed to host simultaneous fashion shows for Proud Girls On The Move, a Long Island based teen volunteer organization teaching girls to have self-confidence, love themselves and use this energy to help others. During these fashion shows, Old Navy sold certain items at deep discounts to Proud Girl supporters and donated the items to children and teens at local shelters. I attended one of these shows with my husband, daughter and my dad, where Brittany chose a turquoise winter coat (that she knew a little girl would love since one of her friends at school owns it), hat, gloves and t-shirt. Oddly, she chose this day to start asking about how stores make money selling their products, and we got into a conversation about how these items had low prices because they were being purchased for a special reason. In the end, she seemed to understand and asked if she could buy something else (at regular price) to say “Thank you” to Old Navy for having such a great event to help people. Who could argue with that?
As I browsed through some more photos, I found another favorite, this one of Brittany in her Christmas dress made of deep dark crimson crushed silk. I’m not a huge fan of the color red, but this dress caught my eye as one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen. In the photo, she is standing in front of hundreds of poinsettia plants inside Cure of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick. With her little sequin head band, tights, shoes, and cross-body bag, she looked calm and serene – a far cry from the jumping, twirling, crazy child that was running around the Bloomingdale’s kids department the day we bought the dress. For the record, I unabashedly LOVE Bloomingdale’s. I don’t get to visit it as frequently as I would like- which my husband is undoubtedly grateful for- but when I need something special, it’s my first stop. One of my reasons that I love it so much is that Bloomingdale’s is a huge supporter of cause marketing, and I am all for supporting stores that work with local charities. The day we bought the Christmas dress, Bloomingdale’s was hosting a fundraising event where 10% of every purchase made in the children’s department that date was donated to Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that trains service puppies right here on Long Island. The event was held in conjunction with Kyle’s Lemonade and Brittany was also able to meet Kyle, an amazing Long island role model.
In all honesty, it doesn’t matter that my daughter is not yet even 6 years old. She’s growing up in an environment where she understands that you are never too young to make a difference. And she and her little friends all WANT to make a difference. I’ve had such a great opportunity to help start them down a road to understanding that purchases we have to make every day can benefit others in some way.
As moms and dads who are working, managing a home and often running a business among so many other things, I know how we are all short on time. But if each one of us made a concerted effort to support stores that support charitable giving, Long island would be an even better place.
Do you have a favorite store that supports non-profits? Share it in the comments so others can shop there!
About Kerry Gillick-Goldberg
Kerry is mom to Brittany (Miss B) and wife to Joe- as well as the owner of kgg enterprises, a boutique pr & marketing consulting firm based on Long Island. Her career path started in education, continued in the garment center, and now focuses mainly on all things tween/teen and non-profit.