The biggest charitable season of the year is here. Among the crowds of shoppers are those who are giving back to the less fortunate by participating in or hosting charitable events. The real estate industry prides itself on being heavily involved in the community, especially during this time of year. While some brokerages work together on a larger charitable project, individual agents or teams are also taking it upon themselves to give back in their own way.
Check out what's already happening this year:
Keller Williams Realty in New Jersey recently delivered a trailer full of donations to 100.1 WJRZ that included food, clothing and toys for two charities: Ocean County Hunger Relief and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County. In addition, Keller Williams' KW Cares Foundation, which provides assistance to agents in need, is providing aid to those affected by the California wildfires.
Toys for Tots—a popular charity affiliated with the Marine Corps and its Veterans—is receiving donations from agents across the country. This year, William Raveis Real Estate in Ridgefield, Conn., is collecting donations for Toys for Tots. In addition, Chuck Swidzinski's team of REALTORS® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty hosted their annual Toys for Tots event in Butler County, Pa., on the Thursday after Thanksgiving.
The Weichert Family of Companies holds its own Annual Weichert Toy Drive, which is in its 39th year. The company is welcoming community donations at its sales offices until Dec. 15. The donated toys are delivered throughout the holidays alongside local charities that assist financially and physically disadvantaged children. The annual toy drive provides underprivileged children with hundreds of thousands of donated items. Last year's drive brought in over 13,500 new toys for families and children in need.
In Virginia, Kevin Barbera—real estate consultant at the Barbera Group and founder and CEO of the Barbera Foundation—frequently hosts food and supply drives, gathering volunteers to collect blankets, canned food, toiletries, socks, etc., which are donated to the local shelter. The Foundation is hosting a special homeless collection for the holiday season.
"For Christmas, we have a few different events geared toward helping the homeless in D.C.," says Barbera. "Our ultimate goal is to hand out 300 Christmas care packages to homeless people in D.C. on Dec. 23. To fulfill this goal, we will have a food and supply drive on Dec. 16 and then a care package assembly on Dec. 17."
Benchmark Residential & Investment Real Estate in Portland, Maine, alongside Portland Youth Dance and Special Olympics Maine, hosted their second annual Four a Cause Holiday Party & Charity Event on Dec. 7. The annual party is open to the public at no cost, but sponsors ask that attendees make a donation to be split among four charities. This year's contributions are going to Special Olympics Maine, Wayfinder Schools, Portland Youth Dance and Locker Project. Also, a $10 donation gets attendees a drink ticket.
"This is not just any holiday party," reads a statement on Benchmark's Facebook page. "Each year, we choose four local charities to highlight during the evening's festivities and ask that attendees consider making a donation to be split among them. This year, we asked our Facebook fans to choose our local charities."
Meanwhile, in Dallas, Texas, Pierce Allman and Allie Beth Allman—co-founders of Allie Beth Allman & Associates—work alongside the S.M. Wright Foundation, which coordinates events during the holidays to provide food for those in need. The realty group is also a Title sponsor for the first-ever D Gives Initiative, which brings together more than 70 charities highlighted by D Magazine that people can donate to.
"Please join me, Allie Beth Allman & Associates and D Magazine, as we seek to give back through honoring our Charity of Choice this Holiday Season," says Terri Patrick Cox, executive vice president at Allie Beth Allman & Associates, in a Facebook post that asks individuals to donate to Buckner International.
These are just a sampling of the mass charitable events being hosted by real estate agents across the country. If you're looking for a place to donate, check with your local agent, or visit the donation pages of any of the above charities—or if you've already donated for the holidays, let us know what your charity of choice is!
My local association sponsored a toy drive for three local charities. The YPN committee I chair put on a great toy drive mixer that brought in a LOT of toys for those less fortunate.