Sparks Gives Back This Holiday Season
Sparks employees from offices all over the country have joined the company’s Code 10, Be You, and Sparklers committees to organize charitable initiatives as a way of giving back this holiday season. Initially inspired by Giving Tuesday, which is a global day of philanthropy, Sparkies extended the idea to span several months. Whether it was organizing a coat drive, building holiday gift boxes, or collecting nonperishables for a food pantry, our team members came together to serve their local and extended communities. During this season of hope and goodwill—and unfortunately, pandemic fatigue—these acts of kindness and generosity have been appreciated more than ever. Here’s a brief overview of their acts of generosity by location:
Sparks employees in Atlanta have an authentic heartfelt connection with each other and with their community at large. They decided to hold a food and toy drive to benefit SweetWater Mission, a local organization that works to alleviate hunger and homelessness and to transform lives through education and employment. Sadly, hunger and poverty are realities for some residents of Atlanta and the pandemic has exacerbated these problems. Employees in the Atlanta office mobilized quickly to collect a diverse range of food and gifts to donate to the mission.
The Sparks’ office in Burlingame, CA is poignantly aware of the large homeless population in the San Francisco area and is committed to being part of the solution. They decided to organize a drive for the Homeless Prenatal Program, an organization that they’ve worked with in the past. The nonprofit seeks to break the cycle of childhood poverty by intervening during pregnancy and parenthood—a life stage when the motivation to make changes is higher. For their giving back initiative, Sparks employees collected new diapers, blankets and other needed items for the charity. “It's essential that we support the local organizations that are providing resources to our bay area community,” said Galilea Silva, Event Coordinator and Code Ten Rep. Silva noted that the office also has plans to partner with the San Francisco–Marin Food Bank.
The 3D Exhibits division in Chicago held a food drive in their office recently to benefit the Bloomingdale Township Food Pantry, so that families in need could continue to receive food assistance during the holidays and throughout the new year. “It always amazes me the way the office rallies together when we put the word out about giving back,” said Cole Hauschildt, Creative Marketing Manager. “We will all do whatever we can to help those in need. The sense of family is what I appreciate most here at 3D/Sparks.”
Sparks’ Detroit office organized a coat drive for Starfish Family Services, a nonprofit organization that helps to create brighter futures for children by focusing on early childhood education, behavioral health and parental support. They were able to donate 35 winter coats for children in need. “Giving back to our local community means the world to us as we're able to see the difference we're making right here at home,” said Mallory Wojtaszek, Operations Manager and Code 10 Rep. “And hearing how happy this made the team at Starfish and the kiddos was just an added bonus!”
Sparks employees in our Fort Wayne, Indiana location realized that COVID-related supply chain disruptions were not only affecting the events industry, but were also impacting supply levels at local food pantries. They decided to work with a local food bank called Community Harvest, to ensure that the charity could build up its reserves, which had fallen due to the pandemic. Debbi Kuntz, Code 10 Rep and Graphic Production Designer, was shocked at how much food the office collected in two weeks. Fellow Code 10 Rep and Project Manager Steven Knepple echoed her sentiments. “It’s good to know that we’re directly helping those in our community with need,” he said, “The food bank helps people with food scarcity throughout the year—but especially around the holidays, no one deserves to go without.”
Sparks’ Las Vegas is partnering with Toys 4 Kids, a beloved local organization that makes homemade wooden toys for children in need. Employees have been invited to join the office’s giving back initiative by volunteering and/or making a monetary donation to the group. The nonprofit is largely comprised of seniors and veterans who have worked together for more than 13 years. They make toys and deliver them, free of charge, to children of all ages in hospitals, social service agencies and shelters—and more recently, to children across the country who have been impacted by hurricanes. The group welcomes donations of any amount so that they can continue to purchase materials and supplies, as well as fund their dream of building a permanent home for their philanthropy some day.
The LA team brought their Sparks community together in-person for the first time in 18 months by hosting a lunch to benefit My Friend’s Place, a local organization that provides resources for young people experiencing homelessness. Large collection boxes were set up to receive items on the charity’s wish list including warm clothing, hygiene essentials and gift cards. Several Sparkies also made donations directly to the organization. “Homelessness is a real crisis in Los Angeles right now,” said Sarah Steffer, Code 10 Rep and Office Administrator. “This was a good reminder to always look for opportunities to help those around you because small actions can add up to have a big impact."
Our friends in Philly have several giving back initiatives up their sleeves. On-site, Sparks Philadelphia has committed to partnering with Unite for HER, an organization whose mission is to support the health and well-being of people diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancers. Sparks team members will be assembling care packages that include educational materials and healing products. The care packages will be delivered to people who are currently battling cancer or who are in remission.
For employees looking for volunteer opportunities off-site, the Philly office recommended Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. In addition to providing a variety of shelter services for the “hungry, homeless and hurting,” the mission serves three meals a day with heaping sides of dignity and compassion. And, similar to previous years, the Philly office collected toys for the Red Cross throughout the month of December. Donations will be given to children at local women’s shelters, as well as People’s Emergency Center.
Chief Marketing Officer Kristy Elisano turned the idea of giving back into a team-building activity for her group during their annual marketing meeting. Team members worked together to pack gift boxes with a variety of small toys, personal hygiene products and school supplies, and then label them for the intended age and gender of the recipient. The group donated 150 gift boxes to Operation Christmas Child, a program that gives presents to children who have been impacted by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease. Amazingly, the gifts are delivered to some of the hardest to reach places on earth—deep jungles, steep mountainsides and over 1,000 remote Pacific islands.
The Sparks Team in New York City is looking forward to partnering with a local nonprofit in the new year.