As we look ahead to Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, the team at Access Emanate is grateful for the good we’ve done over the past year. From coast-to-coast, the AE Cares team has supported various causes in each local market, and helped a lot of different people and organizations along the way — from the hungry, to homeless animals, veterans, the planet and those in need of books, toys or clothes — we’re proud and grateful to say that AE Cares found a way to lend a helping hand. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve done throughout 2016 and our plans to finish the year strong.

Bicoastal Book Drive

During #NationalReadingMonth in March, the New York and San Francisco offices of Access Emanate hosted book drives to benefit the Friends of the SF Public Library and Reading Reflections respectively. More than 120 books were donated, helping these organizations to better serve our respective local communities.

Skipping Lunch to Fight Hunger

In May, Access Emanate supported City Harvest’s Skip Lunch Fight Hunger program for the fifth consecutive year. The campaign encouraged AE staff to skip buying their lunch for the month, and instead donate the “lunch money” they would have spent on salads, sandwiches and burritos to City Harvest, a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to food rescue, distribution and education. This effort is so important because one in four NYC children face hunger. Shockingly, just $15 – the approximate cost of one NYC or SF lunch out – can help City Harvest to feed 57 children for a full day. By the end of the month, Access Emanate had raised a whopping $1,141 to donate to City Harvest – enough money to feed 4,336 kids.

NYC Vietnam Veterans of America Clothing Drive

Throughout the summer, the New York team collected clothing, shoes and other goods, eventually donating the items to Vietnam Veterans of America, a nonprofit organization committed to serving the needs of all veterans.

Furry Friends

In July the San Francisco team supported the San Francisco SPCA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding all animals in the Bay Area a loving home. The team donated gently used towels, blankets, sheets and/or bedding to the shelter’s dogs, cats and bunnies. These supplies truly make the animals waiting to find their forever home more comfortable during their time at the shelter. We also collected monetary donations, and to cap off the week the team hosted a celebration including two special guests – former shelter dogs Bailey and Finn who belong to staff members Carolyn Linck and Melinda Hickman respectively. In total, Access Emanate raised nearly $300 and collected several bags of blankets and supplies to support the shelter animals and the great work that the SF SPCA does every day.

Sustainable Service

As a part of Ketchum’s Global Month of Service in September, the New York AE Cares team ventured to Long Island City to volunteer with Big Reuse, one of New York’s nonprofit composting projects. At the compost site, the team learned about the importance of composting for reducing pollution levels, what can be composted and how to compost effectively. They also helped with preparing various materials for the Big Reuse crew and general site preservation.

 Food Bank Field Trip

In San Francisco, the team participated in Ketchum’s Global Month of Service by volunteering at the San Francisco/Marin Food Bank in the city’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. During their shift, the team helped bag more than 3,150 pounds of rice so it could be shared with the 450 organizations the Food Bank partners with including: community pantries, religious centers and schools across San Francisco and Marin counties. Thanks to the help of volunteers like those from Access Emanate, every year the SF/Marin Food Bank distributes 46 million pounds of food to those in need in the Bay Area.

San Francisco’s St. Anthony’s Clothing Drive

Starting in November, the San Francisco team began collecting clothing donations, particularly warmer winter clothes, for SF-based charity, St. Anthony’s, which supports the city’s Tenderloin community. While this clothing drive is ongoing, several bags have already been collected and we expect more to come following the Thanksgiving holiday.

 Winter Wishes

In New York, the team will again participate in NY Cares’ annual Winter Wishes program – raising money to grant “wishes” for folks living in each of the boroughs who often go without over the holidays. From toddler toys to slippers for senior citizens, over the years we’ve granted more than 20 wishes – bringing what we hope is a little piece of joy to all. This year, the team is granting wishes by buying gifts, hosting a wrapping party and shipping them out to those in need by mid-December.

Raphael House Adopt-A-Family

San Francisco is again participating in Raphael House’s Adopt-A-Family program this year, adopting two families – one with two boys (ages 5 and 3) and one with three girls (ages 10, 7 and 3). The team will be buying gifts for each child and the family as a whole and delivering them in early December to spread some joy these San Francisco families.

Macy’s Holiday Windows for the SPCA

This holiday season, several members of the San Francisco team will be volunteering for the San Francisco SPCA at the Macy’s Union Square Holiday Windows program. Now in its 30th year, the Macy’s holiday window displays feature adoptable cats and dogs from the SPCA who need loving homes. The AE Cares SF volunteers will be stationed outside the windows, sharing information with those about the pets available for adoption, assisting those interested in adopting and collecting donations for the SPCA.