How Irish Companies Spread Christmas Cheer
Some of the country’s largest firms continued to show their charitable side over Christmas, despite the economic downturn.
Chief executive of Business in the Community Tina Roche said every Christmas its member companies demonstrate huge support for charities and local community groups.
"In this challenging year, it is extremely heartening to see Irish companies showing greater support than ever for those most in need," she said.
Abbott ran several initiatives across its sites to assist charities. Its annual Shoebox Appeal for the Samaritans resulted in over 480 boxes being collected. Abbott staff raised over €2,500 for Barnardos through a Christmas card campaign and its Cootehill site ran a cake sale in aid of the Central Remedial Clinic. In addition, Abbott’s Clonmel site held a Christmas card campaign in aid of the Sligo Social Service, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and North West Simon Community. Staff at its site in Sligo bought presents for residents of a local nursing home, ran a raffle for flood victims and raised funds for the Irish Kidney Association and Focus Ireland.
For the past 26 years, a group of AIB staff have held an annual Christmas hamper appeal. A fundraising drive is held over two days in Bankcentre, along with a toy appeal. The committee then buys food hampers and toys and delivers the packages to hundreds of families living in hardship in the Dublin area, the names of which are provided by the St Vincent de Paul. The amount raised this year was over €21,000, which will help over 200 families. On December 4 AIB staff held their annual charity Christmas market at Bankcentre, raising more than €14,000 with 24 different charities benefiting.
The food group continues to support Barretstown, its designated Irish charity. Its 2,000 employees recently reached a milestone by raising over €60,000 in fundraising for the charity. The money raised will sponsor a cottage and an arts and crafts programme. The Glanbia -Barretstown partnership commenced in 2008 and has three dimensions, involving a corporate contribution as well as active employee engagement and high-profile Avonmore brand programme.
Intel events around Christmas include an annual meals-on-wheels event where staff make and deliver 30 meals to clients in the Leixlip area. Later in the day the site management team serves dinner to 80 volunteer drivers and chefs of the regular meals-on -wheels service, giving them a day off. Intel has a site charity day on December 17 which assists the charities CASA, DSPCA, Carers’ Association and Autism Ireland. Intel staff also packed 1,200 care packs for Simon Community clients and donated toys and sweets to the St Vincent de Paul. The company is helping flood victims by organising a fun run for SVP and Irish Red Cross and matching employee donations to The Community Foundation for Ireland’s Flood Recovery Fund.
Microsoft ran a number of fundraising events in the run-up to Christmas, including Xbox competitions, raffles, mulled wine mornings and football competitions. Between €10,000 and €15,000 is expected to have been raised and monies will go to charities including the Laura Lynn Foundation, a local children’s hospice charity, St Vincent de Paul and the Irish Cancer Society. In addition, the annual Giving Tree for Barnardos was hoped to have bettered the 300 gifts gathered last year.
The drugmaker donated money to the Society of St Vincent de Paul in lieu of sending out Christmas cards and its Pfizer Healthcare site also organised a collection for the Simon Community.
Sodexo support teams in the Dublin and Cork offices had a St Vincent de Paul Christmas Giving Tree where everyone in the office bought a children’s gift, which were given to needy families in the local community.
State Street employees donated over 300 new toys and 100 food vouchers to Barnardos.
The bank’s three charity partners in 2009 were Enable Ireland, Simon Community and Barnardos. Enable Ireland were invited into head office in November to sell charity Christmas cards. Enable also received a donation from Ulster Bank’s staff charity fund, as did the Simon Community. Barnardos sold charity cards at head office. Other charities were also supported by the staff charity fund, including a €20,000 donation to St Vincent de Paul to help flood victims. Giving Trees were placed at head office to collect toys for children and the bank also completed a mobile phone drive by collecting used mobiles in George’s Quay, Dublin Mortgage Centre and College Green offices, with each mobile collected resulting in a donation to St Vincent de Paul.
The phone company supported St Vincent de Paul with a Gift Tree, where employees brought unwrapped gifts to the office. Employees in the consumer department held a jersey day in aid of Chernobyl Children’s Project Ireland, wearing their own favourite club jersey and making a donation to the charity.
This year marked the sixth year of Wyeth’s partnership with the Heart To Hand Christmas Shoebox Appeal. This annual project enables employees and their families to fill shoeboxes with small toys, school supplies, sweets and other gifts for needy children. Since 2004 Wyeth employees have brought the joy of Christmas to more than 4,000 boys and girls in Romania and Albania. This year 855 shoeboxes went to children in hospitals, orphanages, homeless shelters and impoverished neighbourhoods in Albania.
Joining forces with youth and community development organisation Localise, PricewaterhouseCoopers launched a Care in the Community project in the North Wall area. This project is in its second year and involved PwC working with children from local school St Laurence O’Toole’s CBS and GNS, Seville Place, Dublin. Together, they devised a gift appeal to provide a Christmas box of gifts to each of the 21 residents of local Simon Community-supported housing at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.
PwC also ran its annual Santa letter programme, enabling children at four disadvantaged Dublin schools to receive a gift from a PwC Santa.