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Top 10 Ways to be a Caring Heart in Your Community

  To celebrate Red Door’s 10th anniversary this year (double digits!), we would like to share our personality, core values, and overall excitement through a series of “top 10” blog posts on the 10th each month. This month's post is brought to you by Red Door Caring Hearts Philanthropy Committee.

The holiday season is upon us, so what better time to give back and get involved in your community? Sounds great, but most of us don’t even know where to start. That’s where the Red Door Caring Hearts Philanthropy Committee comes in. Together, we’re committed to giving the gifts of time, talent and treasures for the betterment of health, education and the environment in the communities where we live, work and play. Here’s a list of 10 causes we love to support and some information about getting involved. Take a look, find a cause that speaks to you, and be a caring heart in your community this season.
1.      Adopt-A-Family What they do: The Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program brings people together by matching underprivileged families with individual or group sponsors. Once a match is made, the sponsors receive the family’s wish list and work with The Salvation Army to ensure that the family receives gifts and food during the week before Christmas. What we’ve done: Last year, Red Door participated in this program in both San Diego and Denver. Employees donated wish list items (everything from pots and pans to iPods) and then the Philanthropy Committee delivered the gifts to The Salvation Army center.
2.      San Diego Food Bank & Food Bank of the Rockies What they do: The San Diego Food Bank provides food to people in need, advocates for the hungry and educates the public on hunger issues throughout San Diego County. The Food Bank acts as a central donation and distribution point. As a member of Feeding America, the Food Bank of the Rockies provides food supplies to more than 1,000 hunger-relief programs in Colorado and Wyoming. What we’ve done: In 2011, Red Door hosted food drives in all of our offices to benefit our local food banks—San Diego Food Bank and Food Bank of the Rockies. We held our drives in early fall (November is great) which is typically when supplies from the previous holiday season start to dwindle, before the next holiday season donations come in.
3.      Serving Seniors What they do: The Senior Community Center’s Serving Seniors program ensures San Diego County seniors have access to nutritious meals each day of the week. This year, the program plans to serve 475,000 meals this year. What we’ve done: For over a year, Red Door has regularly participated in the Serving Seniors lunch program where we spend our lunch breaks once a month serving lunch to the seniors at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center.
4.      Wreaths Across America What they do: Wreaths Across America embodies the mission statement, “Remember, Honor, Teach” by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies in local veteran cemeteries where volunteers place holiday wreaths on each fallen soldier’s headstone. These ceremonies take place in the month of December in all 50 states. What we’ve done: For the past two years, Red Door volunteers have taken part in the wreath laying ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego to treasure, honor and give thanks to local heroes that have given the ultimate sacrifice.
5.     National Multiple Sclerosis Society What they do: The National MS Society is a 50-state network of chapters striving to “mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.” What we’ve done: Lauren Dougherty, Red Door’s Director of Client Services, has been a member of the MS Society for 10 years and has consistently been one of the top 100 fundraisers in the SD/OC areas.  We have supported her efforts to raise money and awareness over the past three years by not only walking as part of her dedicated team (Lauren’s Crew), but also by serving food at the pre-walk Breakfast of Champions and working the registration table.
6.      First Book What they do: First Book gives the gift of reading by providing new books to children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 90 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. What we’ve done: Currently, we are hosting various fundraisers (including an office-wide bake sale and silent auction) to buy brand new books for classrooms in Denver and San Diego: one class of students at Barnum Elementary and two deaf and hard-of-hearing preschool classes that share a classroom at Whitman Elementary.  Then, we will go to the classrooms to handout the books and read to the classrooms. The students will be able to take home their copy of the book and, in some cases, it may be the “first book” they have owned.
7.      Make-A-Wish What they do: Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The organization helps terminally ill children make their childhood dreams come true and helps brighten what could otherwise be a sad time for them and their families. What we’ve done: Inspired by a few Red Doorians’ dedication to and involvement in the organization, volunteers from our Denver office participated in the Make-A-Wish Denver Oyster Race, an urban adventure fundraising race. The teams received clues and ran/biked around the city of Denver to solve the puzzles and complete various tasks, ranging from paddle boarding to rock climbing.  
8.     
Furry Foster What they do: Furry Foster is a non-profit organization in San Diego dedicated to ending the euthanasia of adoptable pets by connecting homeless animals with loving foster homes. Their goal is to raise awareness about animal foster care and create new foster homes for animal rescue organizations. They also provide free resources to rescues and foster parents in an effort to increase foster and adoption. What we’ve done: Red Door helps support Furry Foster and homeless animals in our community by participating in Furry Foster fundraising events. Most recently, Red Door supported the Furry Foster Yappy Hour filled with fun and a raffle to raise money for local animals in need.
9.      TNT @ Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon What they do: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon tours throughout North America and even to Europe, partnering with a collection of charities to raise money for their respective causes. One program in particular, Team in Training (TNT), has raised over a billion dollars to fund research and treatment for blood cancer patients around the world. TNT unites and inspires participants with the motto, “Together we train to beat cancer.” What we’ve done: To support our fellow employees training with TNT and running in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Red Door volunteers set up and worked a water station starting at 4:00am on race day. With great respect and enthusiasm, we helped the runners stay hydrated and hyped by supplying water cups, high fives and lots of cheers!
10.      Surfrider San Diego What they do: With over 75 miles of coastline to cover, San Diego represents one of the largest chapters of The Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots organization of everyday people working to protect our local oceans, waves and beaches. What we’ve done: Red Door has been involved in both beach and creek to bay cleanups throughout the years. Most recently, we teamed up on an early Saturday morning to pick up trash at Mission Bay Crown Point Shores. One of the best parts of being a San Diego local is enjoying the beautiful beaches—and it feels good to do our part to keep them clean!

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