Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday: a trio of days that kicks off the holiday shopping season. But for many, the true spirit of the season kicks off the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Dubbed “Giving Tuesday,” the global day of giving fueled by social media is seen as the kickoff to the “charitable season” when many businesses and individuals focus on holiday or end-of-year-giving. Here’s a look at how businesses in Mint Hill are giving back this holiday season.
For the fourth year in a row, Big Guy’s Pizza is collecting toiletries and warm weather necessities to assemble “blessing bags” for the homeless. Big Guy’s is in need of toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, combs, brushes, band aids, Q-tips, tissues, lotion, chapstick, floss, wet wipes, socks, scarves, and hats. If you’d like to help Big Guy’s Pizza help the homeless, you can drop donations off at the restaurant through December 19.
Every year Woof ‘n Hoof selects a local rescue or shelter on which to focus their support. “Last year, we helped out CMPD Animal Care and Control with donations and on-site pet adoptions,” says owner Patrick Holton. “This year we’ve linked up with the Humane Society of Charlotte. We’ve been taking donations of basically anything animal related from food and treats to gently used towels and toys.” Beginning on Small Business Saturday, Woof ‘n Hoof is also hosting a “Paws for the Humane Society” donation drive. Folks who make a monetary donation receive a paw they can decorate, sign and hang around the store. “This community is great about giving back, and we are very excited about this program,” says Holton.
Mint Hill Roasting Company has chosen both a local and a national organization to support this holiday season. Through December 23, they are hosting a toiletries drive to support Families Forward Charlotte, a nonprofit organization who assists families on the verge of homelessness by collecting and distributing items to help ease the burden of poverty. “This is important to us living in Mecklenburg County because there are too many children living in poverty,” says owner Annette Dance. “Our kids are the future and we like to help where we can to provide a foundation to break the cycle.” To participate, you can bring personal care products full size toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap and toothpaste, feminine products, towels, washcloths, lip balm and deodorant.
Mint Hill Roasting Company will also be making a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project for every bag of coffee beans they sell through December 31. “This is an amazing organization that helps veterans and service members who have been injured physically or mentally while serving our country on or after Sept 11, 2011,” says Dance. “The organization’s mission is to aid the individual into transitioning to civilian life and prepare for their next mission in life. We have many family and friends who are veterans or active military and this organization has helped a few close to us.”
Spotlight Performing Arts Academy, Premier Martial Arts and Create-a-Video kicked off the giving season early with their partnership with Promising Pages, a non-profit organization that cultivates a lifelong love of reading by putting books in the hands and homes of underserved children. Throughout the month of November, all three businesses collected children’s books of all levels for Promising Pages. “This is a new project for us this year,” says Angela Mills of Spotlight Performing Arts. “Our community, our children and families are our business, so it’s important to me to give back for all I’ve been given. I never imagined six years ago that today I would still be in the business of doing what I love so anytime I have the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ I will.”
Many local businesses and organizations choose to support A Servant’s Heart, an assistance program founded and run by Mint Hill resident Kim Rhodarmer, which focuses on helping families of students who attend Mint Hill schools. Each Christmas, A Servant’s Heart collects new toys and gift cards to Target and Wal-Mart. Families receiving assistance from A Servant’s Heart are able to shop the donations for up to $75.00 in toys for each child ages 0-12; they are also able to receive $75.00 in gift cards for purchasing gifts for older children. In 2017, this program brought in $14,000 in toys and $6000 in gift cards, which provided 267 children with Christmas presents.
Through December 19, Manchester Auto is offering a free trip inspection ($59.99) when you donate a new, in-the-box toy at their location for A Servant’s Heart. The MOMS Club of Mint Hill will also be collecting donations for A Servant’s Heart for the second year in a row. “Our December service project last year was such a huge success that we want to repeat it this year!” says MOMS Club Service Coordinator Jennifer Stanley. “It’s a wonderful program that brightens the holidays for so many of our neighbors.”
Local artist John Marc Grob will be participating in Operation Christmas Child for the third year in a row. “I love this ministry that Billy Graham started; I see the impact it is doing,” says Grob. “I’m a big kid at heart and I love Christmas, in fact I got married in NYC on December 15 just for that reason! This year again I’ll be donating 10,000 bookmarks that I design with a message in English and in Spanish. I’ve even helped stuff the boxes last year with my son’s middle school class, we had a great time.” Grob isn’t collecting for shoe boxes, but you can make a monetary donation to Samaritan’s Purse through his web site: www.jmg-studio.biz.
If you’d like to help a senior citizen this holiday season, stop by the “Angel Tree” in the lobby of Mint Hill Senior Living Home located at 10830 Lawyer’s Glen Drive. The Senior Living Home suggests items like coloring books, pencils, colored pencils, scarfs, denture cleaner, Efferdent tablets, small zippered bags, toddler legos, lotions, and costume earrings. Donations will be accepted through December 12 to be distributed at the residents’ Christmas Party on December 14.