Helping people is close to my heart, and I love working for a company that shares those values. Every year I lead efforts to organize a company-wide fundraiser benefitting two local nonprofits. And thanks to the support of my colleagues and Merkle RMG leadership, last week’s charity luncheon was the most successful one yet!
How it All Began
I have a passion for a.) baking, and b.) helping others. I realized that I could combine the two and use food to help those in need. And there were two charities I had in mind, specifically.
As a Hagerstown native, I grew up supporting the Hagerstown Rescue Mission, which provides shelter, food, and rehabilitation services. So, that cause has always been close to my heart. Now that I live nearby in Pennsylvania, I like to support the local Salvation Army because I truly believe in the work they’re doing to serve families with social services, food pantries, thrift stores, and more.
My colleagues know I bake on the side, so I thought selling my baked goods at work would be a great way to raise money for those local organizations. I shared this idea with my boss Jim Stouffer, and he was incredibly supportive — offering to match the donations we brought in up to $500 and helping spread the word.
We started fundraising in 2012 by taking cupcake orders. After bringing in more than $400 in sales from cupcakes alone, I got a lot of feedback from coworkers about how we could do even more. I talked to Jim about expanding the event, and with his support, we grew the bake sale into an annual luncheon and raffle.
A Team Effort
I’m very blessed to work with such an amazing group, and I can’t say enough about how big a help they are. In addition to Jim’s generous match, my team donates their time to set up, serve, clear and do the raffle. Then we have one person from each of the different departments draw the winning ticket for each raffle prize. Everyone plays a valuable role in making this event happen.
Even my family gets involved! For the first few years, I’d use my points to buy gift cards and I’d donate baked goods that I made. Over time, the offerings grew — my sister, a professional artist, donated some of her beautiful paintings; my mother contributed a homemade afghan she knitted herself; and soon we began adding gift baskets into the mix.
This event is truly a collective effort!
Serving Colleagues as well as Community
Since I love to cook, it makes me happy to be able to provide my coworkers with a hot meal or delicious treat on a cold day when they’re not able to leave the office.
At the same time, the raffle is a great way not only to raise funds, but also to give employees an easy and affordable way to purchase gifts and meals for the holidays.
When the announcement email goes out each year, people get excited knowing the event is coming up. Employees will spread the word to others whose jobs don’t require them to be on email as much, to make sure they’re in the loop.
It’s become a yearly occasion that my Merkle colleagues truly look forward to, and some people have even asked if we can start doing it more than once a year. It makes me feel good to help those in need, but also to make the people I work with happy.
The 2017 Luncheon and Raffle
On December 6, Merkle RMG employees came together for what would set a new fundraising record for this annual event. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Merkle RMG media center, employees could purchase from a menu of home-cooked dishes and baked goods, including chili, soups, sandwiches, cupcakes, brownies, and other treats. We also raffled off a variety of specialty gift items, including jewelry, gift baskets, art, gift cards, and more, and employees could also give monetary donations if they wished.
The turnout was phenomenal! The event raised $1,051, beating our fundraising goal of $1,000. With an additional gift of $500 from Jim Stouffer, we were able to donate $1,551 to support those less fortunate in our community. That’s more than double the amount raised by our first fundraiser in 2012!
Building a Community Connection
Giving to the Rescue Mission and Salvation Army every year allows Merkle RMG to build ongoing relationships with these community organizations. When I send our yearly donations, I include a letter so they know who it’s coming from.
The nonprofits send thank-you letters, which I share with my colleagues. They understand that it’s not a singular donation, and that the gift was a result of many people’s contributions, so they always make sure to thank not only me, but also my coworkers.
A Shining Example of the Merkle RMG Culture
This event truly exemplifies the spirit of the people who work here. That includes the management team; not only do they allow me to hold the event, but they also become actively involved. They give donations, they help with logistics, and, along with my other colleagues, take a hands-on role in making it happen. It really does feel like we’re a family at Merkle RMG.