Christmas is a special time when many of us reflect on how thankful we are for what we have and are inspired to do something for those who are less fortunate. Whether it be through monetary donations, gifts, food, or music, we want to bring them joy and a little comfort during the holidays.
The business community is no exception. They also play a part in supporting those in need during the holidays. Here we highlight five companies that spent time this holiday season spreading Christmas cheer.
First Medical Health Plan
This year, First Medical, a Puerto Rican health insurance company, is giving toys and bringing happiness to children belonging to different nonprofit institutions, as well as children who will be spending Christmas in the hospital.
Hundreds of gifts were collected among the company’s associates to celebrate its first “Ruta de la Navidad” (Christmas Route). First Medical will host a series of events for the children at Hogar Cuna San Cristóbal, Centro de Fortalecimiento Familiar ESCAPE, SER de Puerto Rico, and the pediatric units of the MetroPavia Health System, including Hospital Metropolitano in Río Piedras, Hospital San Francisco in Río Piedras, and Hospital Pavía in Hato Rey.
Peco, the First Medical eagle mascot, will be visiting the children, accompanied by the team of Puerto Rico Dogs Therapy Dogs Services and the Puerto Rico Cartoonists Association.
The visits, which will be filled with fun activities and Christmas music, began Dec. 20, 2012, and will end Jan. 11, 2013.
First Medical President Francisco J. Artau believes that the holidays are a time to spend with family and enjoy the children’s illusion of Christmas magic. His humanitarian vision led him to start the Ruta de la Navidad, with the expectation of making it a tradition in the years to come.
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Every year for over 30 years, Banco Popular celebrates “Comparte tu Navidad” (Share your Christmas), which encourages sharing with those less fortunate during the Christmas season.
Completely voluntary, this initiative is spearheaded by Banco Popular’s own employees. They are the ones in charge of selecting the entities or projects that each participating department will support and then coordinating the activities.
Fundación Banco Popular contributes approximately $150 to each project, for a total of $7,000 to $8,000. In addition to the bank’s contribution, the employees also personally donate to the cause.
This holiday season, Banco Popular’s employees will take part in over 45 projects between the dates of Dec. 1, 2012, and Jan. 15, 2013. These projects benefit nonprofit organizations, schools, and families, all with different needs.
Schools such as the Luis Muñoz Marín in Caguas and the Villa Granada in Río Piedras and organizations such as the Niños Nueva Esperanza in Sabana Seca and the Hogar Colegio La Milagrosa in Arecibo were among some of the projects chosen.
The activities within each project are varied depending on who they are serving. Some examples are sharing with Populoso, receiving a visit from Santa Claus or the Three Kings, giving presents to the children, and providing appetizers, lunches, music, or dances.
T-Mobile Puerto Rico
For the thirteenth consecutive year, T-Mobile participated in the traditional Christmas lunch of La Fondita de Jesús, where Puerto Rican Olympic medalist Jaime Espinal also volunteered this year.
The activity was held Dec. 21 at El Gandul Community Park with music, holiday scenes, and of course, lots of food. This is one of the events highly anticipated by the more than 375 homeless at the nonprofit organization’s shelter in Santurce.
Along with Espinal, employees of telecommunications company T-Mobile brought their Christmas joy, shared with the participants, and helped serve the lunch.
“We are very happy to be able to participate in this activity, with the support of our employees,” said Frances J. Rodríguez, public relations manager at T-Mobile Puerto Rico. “By working with those in need, together we demonstrate the company’s values, as well as contribute to improving the quality of life in Puerto Rico.”
Coca-Cola Puerto Rico
Coca-Cola, in coordination with the Puerto Rico United Way (Fondos Unidos), has invited everyone to share their generosity this Christmas season by contributing toys for children in need.
The toys are being collected for children between the ages of 2 and 16 in a six-foot-tall gift box located in front of the Brookstone store on the first floor of Plaza Las Americas
from Dec. 16 to 30. Coca-Cola employees, as well as representatives from Fondos Unidos and participating organizations, were the first ones to place toys inside the box.
“Our staff is committed to our brand’s message, which aims to ‘uncap’ happiness for every person by sharing positive values,” said Rubén Lebrón, brand manager for Coca-Cola Puerto Rico. “We invite the general public to join us in giving happiness to others, which is what Christmas is all about.”
Toys will be distributed to the children through two nonprofit organizations – the Asociación Pro Juventud y Comunidad Barrio Palmas de Cataño, which provide
s a wide array of services to communities in Cataño, and the Concilio de la Comunidad del Llorens Torres housing complex, which is a neighborhood group created two decades ago to help improve quality of life at this housing project.
In response to a need presented recently by Save a Sato, EVERTEC immediately made a call to its employees with the slogan “Let’s help move a tail this Christmas,” and the employees responded.
Between the company and its employees, 607 pounds of food were collected for the dogs and cats that have been rescued by this nonprofit organization. It also delivered on Dec. 13 a donation of $1,831.25.
“As soon as we found out about the critical situation at Save a Sato, where they desperately needed food for their 268 dogs and 228 cats, we did not want to wait,” said Wanda Betancourt, first vice president of communications and marketing for EVERTEC, a company specialized in the processing of transactions. “Our employees are very committed to the wellbeing of the communities and the protection of animals.”
The spirit of giving is not just limited to Christmas. Some of these companies also support nonprofit institutions year-round. First Medical has established the program “First Medical in the Community,” through which it is able to support the American Red Cross, A.M.I.G.O.S., Fundación Ángeles de la Salud, Fundación Cabecitas Rapadas, and countless of other nonprofit entities. Banco Popular has created its own nonprofit corporate foundation, through which it provides grants to nonprofit organizations, among other social work programs.
T-Mobile is active throughout the year in different community efforts with organizations such as Susan G. Komen, Carlos Delgado’s Extra Bases, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Puerto Rico, and Scuba Dogs. EVERTEC joined the Federación Protectora de Animales de Puerto Rico in October, and it created EVERPets, a program that promotes animal welfare.