Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holding hands, connecting hearts

Our friends at Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail know the meaning of giving back! Just before Christmas, they entered Common Heart into a tree-decorating contest sponsored by THE SALES OFFICE Inc., and guess what ... WE WON!                            

Not only did we get the big $1,000 cash prize, but Extreme Ice decided to match that donation AND sell the heart decorations they used on the tree to raise extra money for us. That brings the grand donation total to $2,500!  WOW!  Thanks to this generosity, 100 local families in need will receive a week's worth of groceries -- that's everything from nonperishable staples like soup and peanut butter, to fresh produce, meat and bread. 
Thanks Extreme Ice & THE SALES OFFICE! 

Here's what K.C. Harrill, Extreme Ice Marketing & Public Relations Director, had to say at the check presentation last week:                  

At the beginning of November, Sandra, a representative of THE SALES OFFICE, Inc. representing 10 hotels, came to Extreme Ice Center with their Christmas gift, a big white umbrella and a challenge. The challenge was what they called #1000reasonstogive. The #1000reasonstogive campaign asked participants to create Christmas displays representing a local non-profit of their choice. Instantly, I knew what charity I thought we should represent, but since this was going to be a joint effort of Extreme Ice Center, I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. I asked our manager, Maureen Mulhall, and before I had even finished explaining the contest, she said COMMON HEART with enough enthusiasm that could be heard throughout our lobby. With that being said, we were definitely all on the same page and then vowed that if we won, our earnings would go to them. Fast forward a few weeks and we still had not created our display as nothing we came up had seemed efficient to adequately represent the important impact Common Heart has had on our community. Cue the always reliable, IKEA. On a shopping trip, Moe found pillow hearts with Velcro hands in two different sizes. This was it. This was the representation we were looking for: hearts connected by outreaching hands. With help from our Junior Hockey Team, the Charlotte Rush, Extreme Ice Center customers, and staff, our garland of hearts came together and our display took form. On the day of our “photoshoot,” we had two special guests, one of our “rink babies,” Lilly, and a sweet puppy belonging to a skating family that happened to be visiting us that day. These two guests brought our display together by representing everyone that can benefit through the outreach of Common Heart.
After sizing up our competition on THE SALES OFFICE, Inc Facebook page, we knew it was going to be a very tight match. The next day, Moe and Tess were caught very off guard by THE SALES OFFICE, Inc. team representing who surprised us with the $1,000 cash grand prize of the #1000reasonstogive campaign voted on by DJ Stout Operations Manager/Program Director at WSOC/WFNZ. The immediate emotions of shock, excitement, and gratitude were very overwhelming for all of us, as we knew how much this contribution would benefit Common Heart.
Common Heart has a very clear vision: encouraging a small revolution of kindness. They do this through their many branches: Common Cupboard (a food pantry), Common Thrift (a thrift store), TheCommonplace (a community center), and ServingU (a university for kindness). Their incredible staff works around the clock to make sure everyone has what they need day in and day out. If you look on their Facebook page, you will see a slew of praise and gratitude from the families they support. For what they do for our community, we are incredibly thankful… which is why as a business, we have decided to double our winnings from #1000reasonstogive as well as donate all sales from the pillow hearts that once decorated our display. This evening, Common Heart will receive $2,500, which we have learned, will feed over 80 families this holiday season.
We would like to thank THE SALES OFFICE, Inc. and its portfolio of hotels Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotels Matthews, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kannapolis, Four Points by Sheraton Charlotte Pineville, Four Points by Sheraton Raleigh Durham Airport, Wingate by Wyndham Charlotte Airport I85-I485, Comfort Inn & Suites Kannapolis, Comfort Inn Lincolnton, Quality Inn & Suites Matthews, Quality Inn Fort Mill and Best Western Gastonia. for putting us up to this challenge, the representatives of Indian Trail for their support tonight, and Common Heart for their determination and passion for serving our community.

www.commonheart.org – non profit donation recipient
www.xicenter.com – #1000reasontogive $1000.oo winner/contributor

www.THE-SALESOFFICE.com – hotels sales team   

Friday, December 11, 2015

Kindness Connects!

Kindness connects people, doesn't it?
It doesn't take much to show a little kindness. And yet a little kindness can go a long way!

By now you've probably heard our motto of "Encouraging a Small Revolution of Kindness." We're taking that mantra a little further in 2016 by choosing the theme: Kindness Connects.

If you've been around Common Heart for a while, you've probably heard us talk about our CONNECTS program. The vision is that our nonprofit can serve as a connecting point in our community. Connecting neighbors in need to resources and connecting those individuals, churches etc. who have a heart for service with ways they can help.

Part of the CONNECTS vision is to organize a cooperative effort of local churches to embody the command to love our neighbors, especially those who experience poverty, disability, homelessness, unemployment, and crisis  We're having a meeting Jan. 12 with local church leaders who are interested in becoming a part of this endeavor.

We'll also need several volunteers eager to help us organize and administer the endeavor to expand this small revolution of kindness through the Kindness Connects vision this year.

If you're interested, email Keith Adams at Keith@CommonHeart.org or call 704-218-9060.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

'Tis the season for food drives

As we approach the end of the year and look forward to 2016, we're hopeful the New Year includes food drives.

While many people take a break after the holidays, hunger doesn't and we need the community's help to keep our shelves stocked year-round. We're so thankful for the drives we've benefited from recently.                                                      

Central Academy at Lake Park's Beta Club collected 1,200 pounds of food (Wow!) and Edifice Inc. is hosting a drive through Dec. 18 for the Cupboard.            

If your business, church, neighborhood etc. registers a food drive with us, we'll even help you promote it! 
Visit: http://commonheart.org/get-involved/food-drives

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Keeping our neighbors warm this winter

We've been chosen as a participating agency for Duke Energy's Share the Warmth program. That means that we'll soon be able to help low income families pay for their heating bills! 
Applications aren't ready yet, so stay tuned if you know someone who could use this help. 
A little background on Share the Warmth: The program started in 1985 and since then has provided more $33 million in heating bill assistance. More than 80 agencies within the Duke Energy service territory in the Carolinas assist in the distribution of the funds.
When our portion of this is up and running, we'll be one of only 2 agencies in Union County participating in the program!  
Funding for Share the Warmth comes from Duke Energy customers, employees and the Duke Energy Foundation. In November, Duke Energy customers receive a bill insert about the STW program. The Duke Energy Foundation will match up to $500,000 in customer contributions during the heating season.