Motivation for the Marketplace
Motivation for the Marketplace
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Is it the best we as a community can do?
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Joint Venture in Opportunity

    Christmas 1997 marks the third year in our organization's move away from a charity-based strategy for assisting economically disadvantaged families during the holidays.

    I know you are familiar with the typical approaches.  The children in Family X will receive little or nothing for Christmas because mom or dad or both don't work.  Or, if they do, they don't earn enough for the extras of Christmas.  Unemployment or, in most cases, underemployment make for a very lean holiday season.  What's to be done?  Churches, civic clubs, and businesses organize toy drives and food collections.  Then, just before St. Nick's big day, the gifts are either delivered to the families in need or picked up by the parents who have signed up for help.  Generally, the process results in lots of "feel good" for the givers and at least a measure of relief for the parents facing another "treeless" Christmas.  Not bad, not bad at all.

    But, is it the best we as a community can do?

    What if the unemployed and/or under-employed parents of family X were offered an opportunity to earn additional purchasing power so that they could buy what they wanted for their children's Christmas?  What if these anxious parents were sent out to work sites where they could perform meaningful jobs that improved the quality of life in the community?  What if they were paid $5 to $10 per hour in purchasing power for their labor? What if, while these eager parents were working in schools, retirement communities, churches, small businesses, parks and littered vacant lots; the rest of us were organizing toy drives, collecting funds and making plans to open a huge Christmas Store for the shopping pleasure of these working parents?  What if during the week before Christmas, these parents received their pay and were welcomed into the store to use their buying power to select gifts for their children?  Sound too good to be true?  Think again. This is exactly what we are doing during Santability 1997!

    Over 300 moms, dads and grandparents have signed on as Community Service Corps members.  They are working all over inner city Dallas making the community stronger by their labor.  In addition, 14 inner city moms have been employed to serve as "team leaders".  These middle management workers organized their 20-30 member teams and developed all of the reporting, work assignment and payroll strategies for the project.  These special leaders will not be shopping in the Christmas Store.  Instead, corporate sponsors will provide a "shopping spree" for them at a local mall.

    After three years of experience with this approach, we feel the entire process ends in a big "win" for everyone.  Santability - giving parents the opportunity to be Santa to their own children.  What a concept, huh? We need your help!  This year's Christmas Store will need to be the largest yet.  It is not too late for you, your company,  your civic club, your neighborhood or your church to get involved.  Here's what you can do to join the community improvement effort. 

  1. Organize a toy collection drive. Call Susan Vaughn at 214-823-8710 ext 14 to receive an inventory assignment. 
  2. Organize a special collection of funds to be used to purchase toys and clothing for the store.  Instead of buying gifts in your office, club or Sunday School class, why not collect the funds you would normally spend and direct them to our store?  Why not give a gift to the store in honor of a friend or family member? 
  3. Become a corporate sponsor of one of our fourteen "team leaders" by making a $1,000 donation to the project.  When the Christmas Store opens, your company name and logo will appear on a special store volunteer's t-shirt, in our next newsletter and on posters inside the store.

    Charity is good.  But the miracle of community building occurs when charity and opportunity combine.  Our experience among poor people tells us this is far better for everyone.  If you have questions, please call me (my extension is 16).


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