November is travel time for many American service men and women as they make their way home for the holidays.
Oftentimes, their bags are delayed in checkpoints and customs, leaving military personnel without basic items such as soap and toothbrushes.
Ballantyne Corporate Park, which is home to more than 15,000 employees, is stepping in to help this year. Organizers have moved up the business park’s annual holiday drive by a month and are collecting hygiene articles to send to the United Service Organizations of North Carolina (USO-NC).
“November is a critical time for these items,” said Hailey Rorie, community director for Bissell, which owns and manages Ballantyne Corporate Park. The items will be packaged into care packs and given to military personnel as they arrive in the country.
When deciding on a focus for the holiday drive, organizers knew that many businesses in the park already were helping organizations that support veterans.
“We wanted to come up with a community-wide effort that could say ‘thank you’ to our troops,” Rorie said.
Bissell launched the Packs for Patriots program to collect travel-size toiletries, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste and mouthwash, as well as gum, individually wrapped snacks and holiday cards or notes to personalize the packs.
Premiere, Inc., which has an office in Ballantyne Corporate Park with more than half of the company’s 1,800 employees, has promoted social responsibility since 1998, when the concept was prioritized at its annual conference for employees.
It now holds Give Back days, where employees volunteer in the community, and offers paid hours to volunteer and matching gifts for employee donations to approved organizations.
Premiere has about 75 employees who self-identify as military service men and women, and the company regularly supports active service men and women and veterans, said Danielle Mathis, RFP manager for sales operations at Premiere.
Mathis, who has a daughter serving in the military, and she and Premiere director of employee relations Angela Harris jumped at the opportunity to participate in Packs for Patriots when they learned about the corporate park program.
“I saw it on the media board and knew immediately that I had to bring it up to the group,” Mathis said.
We wanted to come up with a community-wide effort that could say ‘thank you’ to our troops.
Hailey Rorie, community director for Bissell
Premiere will further support veterans at this month’s annual conference in Concord, during which employees will create holiday cards for service men and women.
Rorie said that everyone is encouraged to keep Packs for Patriots in mind when they are out running errands and may have an opportunity to buy items for donations.
“We just want our community to make an impact and show our troops that we appreciate their dedication and service to our country,” she said.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.