It was a holiday season the Telemus team won’t soon forget. We adopted a family in need and several foster children – in Detroit and Chicago – via Volunteers of America, and it was a meaningful and memorable experience for all involved.
In Detroit, the team shopped and wrapped gifts for Hermonie Sanders, a single mother of four children: O’monie, 20, Paris, 15, London, 10, Italy, 6, and Hermonie’s 6-month old granddaughter, Za’Nyra.
Sanders works six days a week as a restaurant manager and rents a home on the city’s northeast side. She lives paycheck to paycheck and purchasing holiday gifts for her children, who are all good students, is a challenge.
“I’m grateful that [Telemus] really blessed us with this Christmas,” Hermonie said. “We are all grateful for that.”
“We definitely picked the right family,” added Tracy Almassy who coordinates volunteer opportunities, including this one, company wide.
Fox 2 News and The Detroit News were on hand as the Telemus team arrived at the family’s Detroit home to deliver 50 wrapped gifts in person. You can watch the Fox 2 News report here and read the Detroit News article here.
“The needs that they have are pretty basic. They weren’t asking for extravagant items like video games or electronics. It was really items like socks and underwear, school uniforms, some puzzles,” said Johannah Shiffer, Director of People and Places. “These were things we really knew would make a difference to them, so we bought all of that and then some.”
In Chicago, the team took part in a wrapping party and purchased gifts for three foster children: Demond, 12, Heaven, 11, and Neveah, 11, through the Volunteers of America “Holiday Wishes” program. Volunteers of America collects wishes from each child, each under $25. Then they team up with partners like Telemus to grant the wishes and provide additional gifts.
“With Telemus’ donation towards each gift, we were able to purchase 2 gifts for two of the children and also add the full donation plus a little extra for a gift card wish that one of the children wanted,” said Client Service Manager Jennifer Gayton who organized the effort. “It was incredible to be able to gift two wishes for each child. We hope they were encouraged. We also had a blast determining who was the best wrapper in the office.”
In the end, our team truly experienced the gift of giving back.
“This was an opportunity for us to give back to people who needed it more than we did.“ said Financial Life Advisor, Tever Helmstead.
“It was just so nice to meet all the kids that we shopped for and the whole family,” Schiffer added. “Just seeing their smiles and how excited and welcoming they were, it was more than we imagined.”