Giving Back At Holiday Time In The Toughest Of Tough Years

By Bill Higgs
holiday

We are arriving at that time of year when the sweet aroma of pumpkin pies baking in the oven will delight our senses, and strings of lights and other decorations will soon commandeer our neighborhoods. But before we think too much about the 2020 holidays, let me take you back to a Christmas some years ago when Mustang Engineering, the company I helped found, was involved in its annual effort of giving back at holiday time.

A group of Young Guns (which is what we called people working for our company who were still in their 20s) had chosen to take care of the wish list for a needy family that included a teenage boy.

The teenager wanted clothes—nothing else.

You would think what would happen next is that one or more of our Young Guns would rush out to a store, buy the clothes, wrap them, attach a nice bow, and send the packages the boy’s way.

That’s not what happened.

You see, the young men in this group weren’t that far removed from their own teenage years, and they realized that no teenage boy wants someone else to buy his clothes for him. 

So, they took the boy shopping and allowed him to choose his own clothes, letting his fashion sense—not theirs—rule the day. By the end of the trip, he had bonded with some of the guys, and they stayed in touch with him to see how he was doing from time to time.

It was just one more example of how a good corporate culture can have an impact beyond the walls of the company headquarters. 

In fact, giving back to the community became a part of the Mustang culture almost from the beginning. The very first Christmas our company was in existence, Joyce Covington, the wife of one of our co-founders, heard about two families who were in need and her holiday spirit kicked in.

Maybe, she thought, Mustang could step in and provide some assistance. After all, we were in better shape financially than those struggling families. Our employees didn’t hesitate, and we bought the two families everything on their wish lists, ensuring a joyful Christmas Day for them. 

We were so energized by the simple act of helping others that we started to reach out in other ways, and not just around the holidays. Over the years we worked with community centers, churches, food banks, veterans’ organizations, groups that helped the homeless, and many more.

If you haven’t already, I would urge you to make giving back to the community part of your corporate culture. Certainly, the need is there as the 2020 holidays approach. People have lost their jobs or had their salaries cut, or in so many other ways have struggled through this difficult year.

By helping out, you will see that the camaraderie, team building, and bonding achieved through these efforts will increase employees’ satisfaction with your company and be reflected in your bottom line.

But even more importantly, you will have made a positive difference in people’s lives.