On the eve of Black Friday, I found myself caught up in the chaos in hopes of scoring a 44” TV for a mere $199. I stood outside of the local Best Buy with a few thousand of my closest friends, huddling with some for warmth and avoiding others who apparently got their licenses in a gumball machine. Some tried to hold their place in line with a car, while others took turns with their friends who ran for coffee to keep warm. All for a TV!
As I stood there, feet going numb, wondering if I had any chance of landing my “prize,” I thought about my week at work, and specifically, about one of Aartrijk’s clients, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), which seeks to help communities and enrich lives by combining the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership.
I thought: Wouldn’t it be amazing if instead of standing in an endless line at the hopes of purchasing a low-cost TV, thousands lined up to provide help and support for the communities in which they live? Instead of focusing on the “deal at hand,” can you imagine the impact thousands of people could have in a three to five-hour window, helping people less fortunate?
Not only does helping those less fortunate deliver invaluable benefits as well as personal satisfaction but it’s also one of the most effective ways for a business or industry to be positively perceived by the clients they serve. It encourages all levels of employees to have hands-on involvement in their local communities while providing critical support to charitable organizations that have limited staff and resources. IICF is at the forefront of connecting volunteers from the insurance industry with community charities.
Boys Hope Girls Hope New York • The Children’s Storefront • Community Mainstreaming Associates • Covenant House New Jersey • The Doe Fund • Family Reach Foundation • FDNY Foundation • Friends Of Karen, Inc. • The Hagedorn Little Village School (Jack Joel Center For Special Children) • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater • The Jay Monahan Center For Gastrointestinal Health • The Quality Of Life Plus (QL+) Program • Starlight Children’s Foundation NY*NJ*CT • World Cares Center
Since 1998, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation has hosted the largest ongoing volunteer initiative in the insurance industry. In each participating region across the west, hundreds of insurance employees donate upwards of 12,000 service hours during Volunteer Week alone! People from all walks of life come together to inspire collaborative goodwill across the industry.
Black Friday may be over for the year but the opportunity to help those in need has no expiration. This holiday season, consider donating an hour or two of your time to helping those who truly need it.
As for me, I never got the TV—they were sold out—but the time I had to reflect on what’s truly important in life was worth the sore, cold feet.