Annex Christmas Giving 2018
Who doesn’t love the staff Christmas party? Although it is a favourite event for our employees, Annex’s team decided instead to help sick kids this holiday season.
Every September, Annex selects three charities to financially support, including Ronald McDonald House (RMH) this year. For over 30 years, RMH BC has been providing accommodation for seriously ill children and their families when they must travel to Vancouver for medical treatment. The new facility, built in 2014 and located next to BC Children’s Hospital, serves 2,000 families each year in 73 suites. The House also has common areas such as an arts and crafts room, a playroom, a teen lounge, an outdoor play area, kitchens, a fitness centre, and a BIG slide in the middle of the grand living room. RMH is owned and operated by the Children’s Family House Society of BC, an independent, Board-directed, non-profit organization.
Although RMH is an amazing facility, most families would prefer to be at home for the holidays. To help cheer up the kids and families during their stay, we upgraded the play rooms at RMH, then took all the families to see The Nutcracker ballet at the QE Theatre.
There was a lot of logistics to manage in order to pull this off, so it was a great opportunity to put our project management expertise into practice:
Annex was divided into teams in order to divide and conquer.
- Team #1 was assigned the arts and crafts room.
- Team #2 was responsible for the play room for kids aged 2-11 years.
- Team #3 was tasked with the teenage lounge.
- Team #4 handled snack packs for everyone.
- Team #5 created souvenirs for family members.
- Coach and wheelchair buses, provided by International Stage Lines and KJ Limousine, were needed for trips from Annex to RMH, RMH to QE Theatre, and back again.
- Annex partnered with Ballet BC to reserve a large section of seats at QE Theatre.
- Annex staff stepped up to do the shopping and to be team captains, bus captains and theatre ushers.
Leading up to the event, Annex’s Vancouver head office looked like Santa’s workshop. Team #1 stocked up on arts and crafts supplies including feathers, beads, molding clay, construction paper, stickers and more.
Team #2 acquired dolls, action figures, board games, play tents and tunnels, Thomas the Tank engines, costumes, play food for a toy kitchen, and a Wii console and games for the play room for young children.
Team #3 bought an Xbox One, a Blu-Ray player, DVDs, books and a reading chair for the teen lounge.
Team #4 assembled snack packs for all RMH family members to have during the show.
Team #5 created Christmas ornament souvenirs to remember the day.
On the big day, a bus transported the Annex team, all the gifts, Santa and one of his elves to RMH. The wonderful House staff greeted us and gave us a tour of the impressive facility. As you can imagine, Santa and his elf were a big hit with the kids, and families took the opportunity to get photos before boarding the buses. We even found a wheelchair limousine to transport one family to the show. During the bus ride, we handed out snack packs to families, played Christmas trivia and sang Christmas carols. Upon arrival at QE Theatre, we received star treatment thanks to Ballet BC and had our own entrance to make things easier. Annex ushers escorted the families and the Annex team to their seats. At the start of the show, Ballet BC even did a shout out to RMH families in attendance. The show was great, featuring some of the best talent in the country.
Before the performance and during intermission, we were humbled by some of the families’ stories and why this event was a great escape for them. For example, one little girl had heart surgery just a few days before the performance so we were delighted she was able to make it with her family. Another little girl was in the middle of cancer treatment. We met a baby boy only seven months old in palliative care. There were many more stories and all of them had a significant impact on us.
At the end of the show, Santa, his elf and the Annex ushers led the families back onto buses which returned them to RMH, where we handed out Christmas ornaments to commemorate our time together.
The families were very grateful, but the truth is, spending a day with RMH families changed the Annex team for the better and gave us life perspective that is much more valuable than what we gave to them. At Annex, our purpose is to make connections that change lives, but in this case, our connections with RMH families helped to positively change our own lives. We encourage all of our clients, candidates, suppliers and competitors to give back this holiday season to not only help others, but to lift your own spirits as well.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!