Most of us this week are thinking about parties and the gifts we still need to buy and wrap for Christmas.

But something else keeps popping into my head. It’s the face of a young mother I recently met who wasn’t focused on Christmas gatherings and presents. She was thinking about survival.

A chance meeting

Mother and Daughter

About a week ago our employees donated personal items to help more than 15 needy families in our area. After helping to deliver the 30-plus bags and boxes to Mercer County (Ohio) Job and Family Services, I slipped into an elevator to leave.

That’s when I met this young woman. She had just picked up two of the tote bags and was grasping the handles tightly as she entered the elevator. I introduced myself and that’s when I saw the tears in her eyes.

“Me and my daughter will be homeless at the end of the month,” she said in a quiet, frightened voice.

At first I couldn’t speak. Nothing I could say would erase her fear. Eventually, I told her I was sorry and we briefly discussed her situation. I knew there would be no solution to her struggle during our less-than-a-minute ride in the elevator.

Before we parted, she told me the bags we donated were a big help and she was grateful. I wanted to hug her but the elevator doors began to open and she quickly left.

Totally Giving Back

Totally Giving Back Gift

In early November, our staff decided to establish Totally Giving Back, a program that would foster charitable projects throughout the year. Project: Christmas Elves was our first effort to help families in our community in a unique way.

We contacted JFS and learned that personal care items, bed sheets, towels and blankets were items that government assistance didn’t provide their clients. We had found our mission.

Totally Promotional Employees

“It was surprising when we at JFS were first contacted by Totally Promotional to assist in their idea to provide a unique holiday gift to local families in need,” said Angela Nickell, director of the local JFS agency. “We have never been contacted for such a purpose.”

Elizabeth Rinderle, also of JFS, said the donations were a blessing and one less worry for many families this time of year.

Reaching our goal

Totally Christmas Elves

The outpouring of support from Totally Promotional’s office and production employees allowed us to help specific families, and give JFS additional items to distribute to other clients throughout the year.

Although most of us have never had to go without food, shelter or simple items such as soap, we realize others struggle to pay for such necessities.

What we didn’t realize was how much our small act of kindness would impact the woman in the elevator, the family down the street or the kids who attend school with ours. In reality, these people have touched our hearts as much as we’ve touched theirs.

Check out our entire journey of Totally Giving Back: Project Christmas Elves:

Share your story

Those moments that touch our hearts are worth sharing! Tell us your story below to help inspire others to give and spread the joy of Christmas!

— Shelley Grieshop

Read about other ways the team at Totally Promotional is making a difference by visiting the Totally Giving Back web page.


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