Charity Denim to Benefit Lunches of Love
With 2014 wrapping up and a new year beginning, now is the time to reflect on the events of the past year and continue to move in a positive direction. One of the ways Swingle Collins & Associates does that is by giving back. The holiday season is full of troop boxes for our brave men and women overseas, gingerbread houses for those less fortunate in our community and over the past few years another tradition has been picked up by the staff and producers of Swingle Collins & Associates – Charity Denim. Each Friday, employees have the option to wear jeans in exchange for paying $2. The entire endeavor is on the honor system. Our office is no stranger to giving back, in fact we support several wonderful organizations including: The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Salesmanship Club of Dallas and The Ronald McDonald House, just to name a few. One of the unique qualities of Charity Denim is that each year – right before the company Christmas party, nominations for Charity Denim are opened for employee submissions, making the entire process beginning to end 100% employee driven. “Jean Day” as it has come to be known around the office has benefited 1 Million for Anna, Love for Lauren and this year – Lunches of Love – a program started and run by the wife of one of our very own Swingleites.
The Lunches of Love program runs for seven weeks in the summer, five days a week. Approximately 125 kids are fed lunch each day and participate in Christian education at the First United Methodist Church. For many of these children, it is the only meal they receive that day.
During the school year, the local Rotary puts food in the children’s backpacks to take home to guarantee that they will have something to eat over the weekend, but in the summer months Rotary is not able to do this.
Terri Ruyle heads up the program. She is responsible for recruiting volunteers, ordering and buying the food, planning the meals and running the kitchen each day. It is an eight hour job, five days a week without compensation other than knowing she is changing the lives of each child the program helps. Lunches of Love receives ZERO government funding.
The program is not just about feeding the hungry; perhaps an even greater component of the program is instilling a sense of self-worth in the children who attend. Little ones come into the program guarded and just trying to survive a home life that they have no control of. Through caring mentors they are able to let their guard down and just be kids.