Celebrations can take many forms. And here at Hart, well, we’ve been known to have some pretty good ones! But 2015 brought a new kind of celebration for us.
As we recognized 50 years in business, we left the party hats and snacks in the cabinet and set out to simply say “thank you” to the community that made us who we are. Hart 50 for 50 celebrated 50 years with 50 generous actions across 50 weeks.
Throughout the year, we met new people, saw plenty of smiles, witnessed some heartfelt tears and learned a lot about our own community.
We’re excited to share some of those experiences with you. Scroll down to read about some of our adventures.
As we turn the calendar, we can’t wait to see what the next 50 years will bring. Thanks for being part of our journey, and here’s to celebrating much success in 2016 and beyond!
We thought it only fitting to conclude our celebration of 50 years with a longstanding Hart tradition.
Each year, we rally around a “Christmas family,” local parents and children living through hard times. We hold 50/50 raffles, office-made breakfasts, bake sales and a daylong silent auction (those bidding wars can get intense!) throughout the year. Then, the week before the holidays, we get to experience life as elves – shopping for, wrapping and delivering gifts of clothes, toys and holiday magic in many forms.
We have great fun throughout, but the real delight comes in knowing our efforts help make Christmas morning a little warmer, a little brighter and a little merrier for the family and for all of us. It’s an honor we look forward to with every new year.
It’s quite simple: food fuels the body. It helps us stay healthy and strong… we could not survive without it. It’s unfortunate that there are people in our area who do not have access to healthy meals on a regular basis.
Research tells us that companionship helps us live longer: good conversation keeps the mind sharp, and social connections contribute to good health. This week, we sought both good conversation and social connection with retirees at Perrysburg Commons. Gathering in the common area to play board games, our real intent was to enjoy casual conversation and swap stories and life experiences with people who’ve already walked a longer journey.
Spending time with the elderly can be very rewarding. We can always gain wisdom from others’ experiences, and we’re never too old to learn something new!
The Friendly Center, just as their name suggests, is an organization that helps those in need – and they’ve been doing it since 1923. They assist with basic needs like food and education, but also provide hygiene products to help support the health and wellness of those who otherwise may find it difficult to take care of themselves.
The center has a great need for simple, everyday hygiene supplies, so we packed a few bags with toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, razors, shaving cream and the like. These types of donations help charities stretch budgets and focus their resources on other needs and that, in turn, allows them to aid more people.
Next time you’re stocking up on supplies for yourself, consider picking up an extra and donating it to a local agency.
During the holidays, a lot of communities rally around various causes to make Christmas great for families who are struggling. Toledo shows up in force every year.
For example, the Salvation Army coordinates an annual toy drive to keep Christmas alive for disadvantaged children. We were proud to participate this year, volunteering at 13abc’s popular drive-through toy drop-off. Working with other volunteers, we collected and sorted the toys community members were donating.
Our team had a lot of fun working with others at the event. One stated, “I had a blast participating in the toy drive. It’s something I would love to do every year!”
We all have things that give us comfort and a sense of security, especially when unusual circumstances disrupt our lives. For children, that’s often a stuffed animal or a special blanket.
For this week’s 50 for 50, our team made blankets for Project Linus, an organization founded to help provide comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. We hope our warm, handmade fleece blankets will soothe those little ones who’ve been through so much.
At Thanksgiving, families gather in homes across the country to share a meal. But not every family is so lucky. This week, we wanted to do something to support the families that have fallen on hard times and don’t yet have their own table to gather around.
We made a financial donation to Beach House, a safe place where families who have nowhere else to turn can start to rebuild their lives. Beach House welcomes all families in need and fosters positive changes with life management skills, education and employment. Their goal is to give families the support they need to help them get back to being strong and independent.
The Hart team spent some quality time reading and making crafts with preschool children at the East Toledo Family Center. Supporting all ages of the community since 1901, the center’s success stems from the staff and many volunteers who help out on a daily basis. Their mission is important work – early education of the next generation of Toledoans – and they do it well!
“Hugs … I got unsolicited hugs from about 10 kids,” said one of our team members of her experience. “And I was happily exhausted after our one-hour session. Those teachers are amazing to do that every day!”
Our office is filled with animal lovers, and sometimes a pooch makes an appearance and claims a cubical for a day. So we knew at least one of our 50 for 50 acts should involve the betterment of animals in our area.
Our staff donated pet food, which was delivered to Humane Ohio for its Pet Food Bank. The “Pet Food Bank helps make sure that pets and free-roaming cats in our community do not go hungry.” It also provides pet parents with access to pet food during times of financial difficulty. So pets remain fed, and pet parents don’t have to choose between their own nutrition and that of their pet.
Humane Ohio also spays and neuters dogs and cats to prevent homeless pets and to ensure residents have access to high-quality, low-cost resources to keep pets healthy and happy.