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Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Four years ago, I worked in a department called CIVS, which stands for CARRIER INSURANCE VERIFICATION SERVICES. It made me winded when somebody asked me what CIVS stands for.

It was about six to eight months in my first year that I had my second Town Hall meeting. This was after the announcement that our hourly wages would go up to fifteen dollars an hour.

I remember the executives saying that they donate about $5,000 to the community around Christmas time, but it would be more meaningful if the partners gave value.

There was a lot of great information in that meeting, but all I could think about is how could I give value to the community?

Those who know me, know that I love to read. Listening to books vs having the actual book in your hand is another topic, but I do both. I was reading a story about a girl that was trying to figure out who was a werewolf in their neighborhood. She had to be sneaking and have reason to go around knocking on her neighbor’s door.

The night before she had wounded the werewolf by cutting out its eye and survived the attack. She pushed around shopping cart the next morning and was shouting out as she went along, “cans! Glass! Plastic!”

The neighbors who wanted to donate to the local church would bring out all the empty cans, glass, and bottles and give them to her because she would be able to turn them in for change to help fund her church. Each person answering the door had both eyes.

After she went around to her town and didn’t find the werewolf in human form, she went to the church to turn in the cans. She saw the priest loading up a bin full of glass. When the girl said hello, the priest turned around and she saw that he was wearing an eye patch.

That’s where I got the idea.

The idea was to collect cans from the trash bins and turn them in for money, which we would save for an entire year and donate it to a family in need for Christmas. I brought my idea to my manager, where he quickly jumped on the idea.

It started out small, with Pokemon piggy banks and empty boxes to collect the cans that would originally end up in the trash.

We were able to raise over $250 dollars and buy clothes, presents, and food for a family with small children. The CIVS was able to wrap and deliver presents to the families and bring value to their lives for one day out of the year, Christmas.

The next year we were able to help two families because the money reached over $700 dollars. The next year we raised so much money that we were able to make food boxes for ST LUKES HOSPITAL in November.

Something else happened in the third year, which was unexpected and tragic. Our team turned into IDM and one of our teammate’s houses burned down, while we were having a team-building circus day at the office. All the good feelings quickly turned to concern for our teammate. There was nothing left. The fire took everything that wasn’t in their cars that day.

During scrum, the team was able to pull the funds early and give Jackie $500 dollars to help her get what she needed while she figured out what she was going to do. The look on her face when we gave her the money was a blessing that I will never forget.

Now our team has grown to what I like to call, team 3rd floor. Over these four years, we’ve been able to raise close to $4,000 dollars and we have used that money for Thanksgiving boxes and families for Christmas and have helped bring more value to our community.

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