PCMA HQ Helps Spread Holiday Cheer with Service In Sync
By: Carolyn Clark, Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Professional Convention Management Association
The sounds of crisp wrapping paper and holiday music filled the PCMA office last week as staff members completed this year’s Service in Sync project. With the holidays around the corner, PCMA headquarters chose to partner with Secret Santa, Inc., a non-profit organization that brings a new meaning to holiday happiness for children in need in the Chicago Public School System.
While this is PCMA’s first year of participation, Tom Foley, PCMA’s senior director of member service & business development, has been giving back to the local community with Secret Santa, Inc. since the organization’s inception. Foley, who has earned the seasonal nickname of “Santa Biggie,” helped organize Secret Santa, Inc. with a group of friends, and the group has been making a difference in Chicago for the past 16 years. Last year alone, Foley says that Secret Santa, Inc. distributed more than 5,000 presents to more than 1,600 children in Chicago. This year, PCMA will help make a difference in more children’s lives, on behalf of the entire meetings industry.
Santa Comes Down the Chimney – - Or in the Classroom Door
Through partnerships with five city schools, students between pre-K and second grade send their letters to the North Pole. This year, PCMA staff members answered many of those letters with their own handwritten responses as “Santa”, and fulfilling these wish lists makes a big difference. From winter clothes to toys and books, students who wouldn’t otherwise have anything under the tree get a visit from Santa and his elves in the classroom.
“While many people enjoy the thrill of seeing a letter from a student and buying actual gifts, some donors prefer to simply make a contribution, and those are very much appreciated,” Foley says. “They help us fulfill last-minute requests or buy gifts for children who transfer into the school after we’ve received the letters.”
The 2012 Service in Sync may be officially finished, but you can still help put a smile on a student’s face this season, too. Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in supporting this year’s program.