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Some of the Best Gifts Can’t be Wrapped

With the holidays all around, thoughts of both shopping and charity are usually what come to my mind this time of year. While it’s nice to be able to give gifts to my nearest and dearest, I also make it a point to do something for the less fortunate. I’m not alone  – in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are many communities throughout the region that are in dire need of assistance, and fortunately there are companies and organizations that are trying to make a difference.

A perfect example – UPS – through a series of community outreach and grant programs, employees contribute their time, talent, and hands-on support to charitable organizations around the world.  Along with the activities coordinated for UPS’s Global Volunteer Month (GVM), 2009 has been a milestone year for the company’s community support efforts in the region.

While Latin America is bolstering with business growth potential, it is also afflicted by serious economic challenges varying from country to country. UPS currently services over 50 countries and territories in the Region and provides support and aid in these markets through disaster relief, grant donations, volunteerism and a long list of other activities coordinated specifically for the GVM.

This year, UPS set new records in the Region with the amount of volunteer hours and financial support invested. A few examples of what was done are:

  • Brazil: Coordinated a food drive for the Banco de Alimentos – an organization focused on eliminating the waste of food and minimizing the impact of starvation. 
  • Chile: Painted the Escuela Especial E-791, a school for children with learning disabilities in Santiago.
  • Costa Rica: Collected educational materials and toys for underprivileged children with Aldeas Infantiles SOS Santa Ana in San Jose.
  • Colombia: Provided recreational activities for children at Escuela Semillas de Mostaza in Bogota.
  • Honduras: Spent time with senior citizens at a local retirement home, San Vicente de Paul, located in Tegucigalpa.
  • Mexico: Supported the Mexican Federal District, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, with reforestation efforts in Mexico City.
  • Puerto Rico: Supported the United Way of Puerto Rico and the Pediatric Center for Diabetes Foundation with charitable donations to support their operations that benefit communities throughout the island.

The best part is, these types of activities are held all over the world – UPS employees dedicated more than 140,000 hours to volunteer service in October alone throughout Latin America, the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

So while the holidays are a great time for giving back to the community, if you think about it, so is the rest of the year. The more we can do and the more frequently we do it means reaching more people and making a difference – and if we keep it up long enough, maybe we’ll see the day these programs aren’t even necessary.

Happy Holidays!

Category: Caring for Communities
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