For more than 20 years, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance has supported the needs of families facing childhood cancer. For the past nine years, Houston Relocation Professionals (HRP) has made Candlelighters an important part of the organization's community outreach program and initiatives.
HRP's relationship with Candlelighters is rooted in the spirit of giving back to the local community. Lynn Breedlove, relocation director for Berkshire Hathaway Anderson Properties was a member of HRP's Board of Directors when the relationship between the two organizations first began. She fondly recalls her first impressions.
"To me the best thing about Candlelighters is that they help the entire family, not just the child with cancer," Breedlove said. "They use the money for practical purposes like giving families money for lunch or parking. They are really good people, and I like having the money stay in Houston. I was very impressed with them and so was the board. I just thought the whole thing was fabulous."
It all started with a toy drive, and while that tradition continues on today, the relationship has grown well beyond those early days.
Throughout the year HRP has continued to find additional ways to support Candlelighters.
In September, several HRP members and their companies formed teams and participated in the Candlelighters Fun Walk.
HRP also held two events this year, which benefitted Candlelighters. The first one was HRP's Afternoon with the Astros in June. Through the support of the event sponsors, HRP was able to host five Candlelighters families, and arrange for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Astros facility. Then in October, HRP held its 6th Annual Golf Event Benefitting Candlelighters.
Lynn Wheeler, associate director for Candlelighters, said that HRP's support has grown tremendously over the years, which has enabled her organization to institute new programs for their families. One such program is the Summer Surprises Program.
"Because of HRP, we got so many additional gifts during the holidays one year that we started the Summer Surprises Program," she said. "This is where we go into MD Anderson Children's Cancer Center and Texas Children's Hospital and give out gifts to children with cancer and their siblings during the summer months. During the holidays a lot of people are giving out gifts and sometimes our summer families are somewhat forgotten, so we created this program where we are able to bring gifts for no special reason just during the summer, and it has become a huge hit with both hospitals."
At this time of year, Candlelighters is focused on its Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays Program, which offers support and practical help to families during the holiday season. It pairs organizations, companies, and members of the local community with a Candlelighters family with the hope of bringing some holiday cheer to the families.
Wheeler says that several HRP members and their companies have already signed up to participate in this year's Adopt-A-Family program. She says that much support though is still needed, as well as other donations.
"We are still looking for additional sponsors to adopt Candlelighters families for the holidays. When a child is diagnosed with cancer we adopt the entire family, not just the child with cancer. So we are looking for sponsors. We are also looking for donations of gift cards, meals, and of course monetary donations are always super appreciated."
Wheeler calls the Adopt-A-Family program one of her favorite Candlelighters programs, because she says, "It is such an easy way to give back, while getting to know the families directly, since they get to deliver gifts directly to their houses, which is pretty special too."
For information on the Adopt-A-Family program or to make a donation, visit: www.Candle.org.
As in years past, HRP will be holding its annual toy drive in conjunction with its Holiday Social event on December 11th at Sullivan's Steakhouse.
Advanced registration is required for this event, and attendees must bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift card for Candlelighters.
At the event, HRP will be making its annual presentation to Candlelighters, which will include the toy and gift card donations, as well as a check donation from HRP. For more information and to register, visit: www.HoustonReloPros.org.
Houston Relocation Professionals is the Recognized Regional Group for Worldwide ERC. It provides educational and networking opportunities that are in keeping with HRP's mission statement: "HRP engages, educates, and unifies mobility professionals in the Houston area."
Michelle Sandlin has been involved in the relocation industry since 2000. She serves as Vice President/President-Elect for Houston Relocation Professionals and is Vice President/Director of Communication & Marketing for Chicago Title. Send questions/comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with Michelle on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HoustonRelocation and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit "On the Move - Exploring Houston Relocation with Michelle Sandlin" at blog.chron.com/onthemove.
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