“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed.”
— Maya Angelou
It’s been a tough year. That’s putting it mildly. Though while there have been many challenges that have come with the pandemic and a tragic number of lives lost, we still have so much to be thankful for.
We decided a couple of years ago to express our thanks by giving to others. In what has quickly become a valued tradition, we asked two members of our team to choose an organization to receive a gift in honor of the Leisure client family. Our hope is that by making our giving personal, we are able to have an impact where it matters most. We also hope that our giving may inspire you to select a cause that matters to you, and that you will give as generously as you can.
Here’s where our annual donation will be put to work this year:
The impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry hit home for Sandra Dick, whose two sons both work for Lazy Dog Restaurants. Her youngest son, Hunter, is a server here in Orange County, and her older son, Robert, works in executive management for the company. Both of them have felt the blow of COVID-19. In March, Robert began working from his home office where he has been managing the many complications of temporary restaurant shutdowns and quickly changing health regulations. The stress was tremendous for him, and he struggles every day with the weight of having so many members of his restaurant ‘family’ still out of work as the pandemic rages on. The situation has been no easier on Hunter, who was out of work himself for months. Even after returning to a now much different workplace, he found himself facing the very real risk of exposure to the coronavirus when interacting with customers—too many of whom are far less than diligent about following mask protocols.
While Sandra can’t change the situation for her sons, the charity she selected, World Central Kitchen—or WCK—is helping both restaurant workers and people across the country who are in need of a hot meal.
Founded by chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen’s mission is to deliver “a hot plate of food when it’s needed most.” But the organization does so much more. Its #ChefsForAmerica program is working to safely distribute individually packaged fresh meals to children, families, seniors, and hospital workers that need support by partnering with restaurants across the US and creating pop-up kitchens in rural areas where help can be scarce. So far this year, WCK has provided more than 30 million meals in more than 400 cities across the country. Their work has helped put food on the table for those in need while providing jobs to restaurant workers and drivers who need to earn a living. If you would like to learn more or make your own donation to this great organization, visit their website here.
Many aren’t familiar with Multiple Sclerosis or how difficult it can be for patients and their families, but these struggles are very familiar to Christina Todd. Her ex-husband, Leo, began showing symptoms of MS at just 25 years old. Christina watched as the lifetime dreams of this very active, successful, driven man were wiped away by a disease with no cure. The physical and emotional impact was devastating. Christina and Leo’s son is now 21. Christina worries every day that he may have inherited the disease from his father—and hopes that if he ever does face MS himself, progress will have been made in slowing and eventually stopping the disease.
Christina knows how MS impacts patients, many of whom experience the first symptoms when they are in the prime of their lives, and how it affects their families. She is also acutely aware of the fact that these challenges haven’t gone away just because COVID-19 arrived. If anything, the ‘normal’ difficulties of the pandemic—such as working and parenting from home, buying groceries, and receiving medical care—are even more difficult for individuals and families dealing with MS.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers a wide range of support services for MS patients and their families. The organization’s ‘MS Navigators’ are highly skilled, compassionate professionals that help connect patients, their families, and their carepartners to the information, resources, and support they need to help move their lives forward—from finding doctors, to managing severe disability, to providing emotional and crisis support, to managing the unique risks of COVID-19 for people living with MS. They also raise funds to enable research aimed at identifying new and better strategies to stop MS progression. More than 1 million people in the US are living with MS today. The mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is to “help people affected by MS to live their best lives” and to work toward a “world free of MS.” If you would like to learn more or make your own donation to this important charity, visit their website here.
This Thanksgiving, we hope you will join us in giving to those who have less and need more. From all of us at Leisure Capital Management, thank you for your unfailing trust and confidence throughout the year. We wish you a beautiful and healthy holiday.