During the month of February, the staff of Island Heritage Insurance Company embarked on a company-wide internal initiative – Service Month.
The goal of Service Month was to give back to the community by raising funds for and volunteering with six different local charities: The Cayman Islands Humane Society, The National Council of Voluntary Organisations, The Cayman Islands Cancer Society, The Pines, The Department of Children and Family Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands.
Island Heritage staff was divided into six groups and each group given $100 in start-up cash to donate to the charity of their choice. To add a twist to the traditional model of charitable giving, they were challenged to find innovative and creative ways to “Pay It Forward” by turning their start-up cash into something greater. The teams reached out to several businesses in the community who generously donated goods or services to help each team meet the charities’ most pressing needs.
The Cayman Islands Humane Society’s office and shelter area was in need of a new coat of paint and with the help of AL Thompson’s Home Depot who supplied the group with paint and painting supplies, Island Heritage’s volunteers were able to leave a lasting impression on the walls of the shelter. The $100 start up cash was used to buy a care package for the shelter, which included pet food, treats for the animals, cleaning supplies and scented candles.
Island Heritage volunteers at the NCVO chose to help out in the “New to You: Bargain Shop”, rearranging items such as clothes, shoes and books for sale in the store. The volunteers also wanted to work with children so they used their $100 to buy pots, plants and potting supplies and participated in a tree-planting exercise with the students at Miss Nadine’s Pre-School to teach them about the environment. With the help of Animal House pet store which donated a rabbit to the school, the volunteers were also able to teach the students about responsibility by teaching them to take care of an animal.
Island Heritage volunteers were also on hand to help with registration, direct traffic and man water stops for one of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s largest annual fundraising events, Stride Against Cancer. In addition to volunteering for Stride, they also held an in-office raffle, with prizes provided by Icoa Fine Foods and A La Kebab. This raffle enabled the volunteers to double their $100 start-up cash and donate it directly to the cancer society who used the money to print flyers. With the support of AL Thompson’s Home Depot, who graciously donated paint, and Lalev Construction, who donated manpower, Island Heritage was also able to cross an important item off the cancer society’s wish list and give their office walls a much needed makeover.
The Pines is home to many creative residents who love to paint and draw so they are always in need of arts and crafts supplies. Supported by Kirk Office Equipment and Super Stitch, Island Heritage volunteers were able to give the residents a large care package of paints, brushes, markers and canvas. The volunteers used their $100 to buy gift bags full of sweet treats for the residents, but the sweetest thing of all for the volunteers was being able to spend a Saturday morning interacting with the residents.
The Department of Children and Family Services works with vulnerable individuals in the community to help them realise their potential through various social programmes. With a firm belief that children and families need safe recreational spaces, Island Heritage volunteers decided to support the cause by cleaning up the beach in the Barkers area of West Bay. The organisation expressed a need for school supplies, so Island Heritage’s volunteers turned to Kirk Office Equipment and it came to the rescue by agreeing to match the team’s initial $100, which enabled them to buy enough items to make gift baskets to donate to members of the Wesleyan Church’s after-school programme.
In addition, Island Heritage staff volunteered at Big Brothers, Big Sisters’ annual “Soup-er-Bowl” fundraiser and culinary competition. They helped to set up the event; by tabulating votes, greeting guests and selling tickets among many other jobs. The majority of Big Brothers, Big Sisters funds go toward providing cultural and social opportunities to enrich the lives of the programme’s participants so the team thought that the best way to help the organisation was to contribute to these cultural opportunities. To facilitate this, the Island Heritage volunteers created an in-office snack shop and thanks to the generosity of their hungry colleagues they were able to buy a book of movie tickets to donate to the organisation.