Imagine spending a day close to Christmas handing out toys to less fortunate families. What could be more in keeping with the holiday spirit? Jeff Brodsly, Director of Operations; Paul Rasidakis, Director of Sales; and Justin Milmeister, President at Elite Merchant Solutions, a transaction processor based in Van Nuys, Calif., spent Dec. 18, 2010, doing just that.
It was the culmination - and, according to Brodsly, the most personally rewarding part - of the company's first Give Back Week, a campaign involving 19 of EMS' merchants in Ventura County, Calif., and the Ventura County branch of Spark of Love, an organization that provides gifts to families in need. The merchants discounted regularly priced merchandise and services by 15 percent to customers who brought in new, unwrapped toys for donation from Dec. 11 through 19.
Also as part of Give Back Week, EMS contributed to Ventura County Children's Services Auxiliary the revenue it generated during the month of December from credit card processing at participating merchants. Brodsly reported that the campaign netted about 560 toys. He estimated sales at the participating businesses enabled EMS to donate $3,650 in processing revenue.
On Dec. 18, Spark of Love hosted a "holiday storefront" that allowed parents of foster children and other families identified through county social programs to pick out toys for children under their care. "We helped them pick up the gifts and got to interact with all the families, and that was the best part of this, in my opinion," Brodsly said. "For us, the success was measured ... by the amount of families we actually touched."
Encouraged by the modest success of the event, Brodsly said the company may ultimately extend the length of the toy collection and expand it to Los Angeles County. "We are going to continue to do it, absolutely bigger and better in the years to come," Brodsly said.
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