PAR Staff Give Back

This month has been filled with so many events that help PAR live up to our tagline, “Creating Connections. Changing Lives.”

We have been involved in several Community PARtners events. Read on to learn about some of the ways PAR staff have been involved in helping others lately!

United Way Day of Caring

Earlier this month, several employees spent the day at Hillsborough Aging Services playing games, calling bingo, and serving lunch to a special group of local senior citizens in our community. Through United Way Suncoast, more than 1,900 volunteers took part in 101 projects in the local area on one day. To learn more about how you can get involved in your community, visit United Way.

No-Pucker Challenge

A group of PAR staffers participated in the No-Pucker Challenge to raise awareness for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC). NPC is a rare, fatal childhood disease known as “Childhood Alzheimer’s.” PAR staff member Katie Meyer-Griffith’s husband Sean will be riding across Florida to raise awareness for Hope for Marian, the organization behind the No-Pucker Challenge. Learn more about Marian, a two-year-old girl fighting for her life against NPC and about Sean’s ride. Visit our Facebook page to watch us as we take on the No-Pucker Challenge!

Relief for Puerto Rico

PAR employees gathered boxes of much-needed supplies to send through the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration to help those devastated by Hurricane Maria. Whether it was batteries, garbage bags, diapers, or first aid supplies, staff stepped up and donated what we could to help the effort in Puerto Rico.

Additionally, we collected socks for children in need during our annual Socktoberfest drive, participated in our regular Meals on Wheels route, and so much more! 

PAR's 2017 United Way Campaign Was a Success!

PAR is proud of our ongoing relationship with United Way.

Earlier this month, PAR staff took part in our annual fundraising campaign. For more than 20 years, 100% of staff members have contributed during our annual United Way drive. This year was no different. We exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in employee contributions of $90,402.74 being donated to United Way to help continue its mission of helping others in our community. With match and challenge donations, that brings our 2017 United Way campaign total to $136,604.11!

Learn more about how you can help United Way in your community! Visit www.unitedway.org.

PAR is proud of our ongoing relationship with United Way. Last week, we took part in our annual fundraising campaign. For more than 20 years, 100% of staff members have contributed during our annual United Way drive. This year was no different. We exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in employee contributions of $81,661.72 being donated to United Way to help continue its mission of helping others in our community. [caption id="attachment_2303" align="alignleft" width="291"]Meet Opie, the newest recruit to the PAR family. Meet Opie, the newest recruit to the PAR family.[/caption] This year, our United Way week theme was PAR Boot Camp. Staffers were broken into five teams, each representing a different branch of the military, and took part in a host of activities, ranging from puzzle building to a mental tug-of-war. Ten staff members even went head-to-head in a push up contest! Our friends from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay stopped by… and one lucky pup found his forever home. Want to learn more about how you can help United Way in your community? Visit www.unitedway.org.  
The movers and shakers on Team PAR have been very busy, participating in community service projects and supporting causes that are making a real difference! Here are a few highlights of our activities so far this year. The PARty AnimalsPARty Animals 2015 emerged as leader of the pack in raising funds for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay at the annual Bark in the Park event this spring, keeping the trophy in its rightful place—the lobby here at PAR headquarters—for another year! A large contingent from our staff, along with their four-legged friends, joined the happy throng at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park to support the Humane Society and its vital work in our community. “Love is Blue,” according to the old song, and that sums up one of Team PAR’s true labors of love: our support for autism awareness and research. But why blue? On World Autism Day each year, the Autism Speaks organization encourages people all over the world to “light it up blue” by wearing blue clothing and displaying blue lights in their homes, schools, and businesses. PAR staff turned out in our best dress blues that day; we also held a week-long silent auction and raffle, where theater tickets and fine wine were among the generous donations that had us all raising our bids. An enthusiastic team of walkers capped off the week by participating in the annual Autism Walk, engaging sponsors and raising thousands of dollars for autism research. Earlier this year, PAR was thrilled to be honored as the 2015 Outstanding Corporate Partner for the PACE Center for Girls. The PACE Center in Tampa provides at-risk teen girls an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. With a balanced emphasis on academics and social services, the PACE model is recognized as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system. PAR was also honored to participate in this year’s Cup of Compassion Breakfast to benefit the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Through their crisis hotline and support services, the Crisis Center brings help, hope, and healing to people who are experiencing the devastating trauma of sexual assault or abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and other crises. Each week throughout the year, PAR employees deliver a hot meal and a warm smile to Meals on Wheels recipients in our area. Many are elderly or disabled, and they often don’t get much company, so we try to take a few moments to chat with these neighbors who help to brighten our day as well. This April, we continued with our annual tradition of making and delivering an extra treat: cheerful gift baskets, brimming with goodies and designed to say, “Welcome, spring!” Above par, below par, or just from PAR…it really didn’t matter at a recent golf tournament, where our foursome of keen PAR golfers helped raise funds to benefit The Children’s Home of Tampa. This event is one of the many ways that PAR supports The Children’s Home in its work to strengthen families in our community. The Bloodmobile (a.k.a. OneBlood Services) makes regular stops at PAR, where they know that our regular donors—and a few first-timers, too—can be counted on for donations of blood and platelets. The experts on the Bloodmobile team make it easy for us to do the right thing! These are just a few of the many ways that PAR gives back to our community. “Creating Connections, Changing Lives” is more than just a tagline at PAR—it’s a commitment. Please visit the Community PARtners page on the PAR Web site to learn more!
Autism speaks 2This weekend, PAR staff took part in Walk Now for Autism Speaks Tampa Bay. Funds raised from walks like these are earmarked for research into the cause, treatment, and possible cure for autism. In addition to walking as a team to raise community awareness for autism, we held a raffle and a silent auction the week before the walk to generate additional donations. In all, we are proud to have raised $4,015 for this great organization! Want to get involved with Autism Speaks in your community? Here’s a list of other communities hosting local walks to raise awareness for autism.  
[caption id="attachment_2133" align="alignright" width="300"]The PARty Animals have a lot to bark about this year! The PARty Animals have a lot to bark about this year![/caption] A group of animal-loving PAR employees, known as the PARty Animals, led the pack at this weekend’s Bark in the Park event, benefitting the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. As the top fundraising team this year, we will be proudly displaying the Bark in the Park trophy in the PAR lobby for another year. Last year’s Bark in the Park event raised enough money to:
  • save 5,611 animals
  • transfer 2,765 animals from high euthanasia shelters
  • achieve a 96% save rate
  • treat 25,857 owned pets at the Animal Health Center
  • trap, neuter, and return 5,399 feral cats
  • perform 11,506 spay/neuter surgeries for the public
  • give 1,708 free pet vaccinations in disadvantaged neighborhoods
  • give 286,150 pounds of free pet food to the pets of disadvantaged and homebound citizens
  We are so proud to be able to support such a wonderful cause. We can’t wait to see what this year brings for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Each year, we send a note or a small gift to our Customers at Thanksgiving to thank them for their business during the year. This year, when reflecting on how fortunate we have been as a company, we decided we wanted to pay that good fortune forward.  In lieu of sending gifts, we decided to use those funds to support a worthy cause. This past November, we sent a postcard to select Customers and asked them to choose their favorite charitable organization from a list as a way to acknowledge them and their work. Now that results have been tallied, PAR is proud to announce that on behalf of its Customers, a $5,000 donation will be made to both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Wounded Warrior Project. “We are so inspired by the work our Customers do, and these organizations inspire them,” stated R. Bob Smith III, PhD, Chairman and CEO. “It is an honor to be able to pay it forward to the ASPCA and the Wounded Warrior Project on behalf of our Customers.” The Pay it Forward campaign will be an annual program to benefit worthy charities and to thank you, our Customers, for your business.
Last week, PAR took home two titles that we are especially proud to share. On March 29,  PAR staff and our favorite furry friends turned a rainy day into a walk to remember to support the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Bark in the Park event. Although the walk ended up being rained out just after our team picture, the PARty Animals were thrilled to take home top fundraising honors while showing our support for such a worthy organization. Also, for the fourth consecutive year, PAR has received the Gold Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for promoting employee wellness, making PAR a Fit-Friendly Worksite. We are proud to promote the importance of healthy living and wellness in the workplace! To learn more about the many ways PAR staff give back to the community, visit our Community PARtners page.
This month, PAR was honored to be named as a recipient of the “Spirit of Tampa Bay” award from United Way’s Suncoast Chapter. United Way explains that the award is their way of recognizing companies that go “above and beyond” in organizing and energizing fundraising, volunteerism, and community engagement at their workplaces. Cathy Smith, PAR’s Vice President of Community Relations, was thrilled to accept the award at a special half-time ceremony during a recent Tampa Bay Lightning game. For this honor, however, she credits PAR employees for their commitment and enthusiasm for helping others. “From our beginning more than 35 years ago, PAR’s mission has included giving back to the community,” Cathy explains. Helping children and families in Tampa Bay is a special priority, and PAR employees have participated in a wide range of United Way Suncoast programs that support literacy, mental health, nutrition, and much more. “Staff participation was always strong,” says Cathy, “but about 15 years ago, we reached the milestone of 100% employee participation—and we’ve maintained that every year since.” Each year, a large contingent from PAR participates in United Way’s annual Day of Caring, which brings together volunteer teams to tackle various projects that most agencies could never undertake on their own. Last fall, PAR staff helped organize supplies and donations at the Family Resource Center, a wonderful organization that helped more than 11,000 low-income and at-risk families in Hillsborough County last year. United Way Pledge Week is one of the most fun weeks of the year at PAR. The week includes a series of games (with treats and prizes), from the hotly contested annual Scrabble competition to a ride-like-there’s-no-tomorrow tricycle race through our Distribution Center! The culmination of the week is a luncheon featuring speakers from local organizations who have benefited from PAR’s support through United Way—a wonderful way to end pledge week on a high note. To learn more about PAR’s ongoing commitment to United Way and to other community service projects, visit our Community PARtners Web page.
[caption id="attachment_1421" align="alignleft" width="300"]photo Last week, PAR staff delivered gifts to a deserving local veteran's family.[/caption] All of us here at PAR want to send you our warmest wishes for a very happy holiday season. We look forward to helping you and those you serve in 2014. May your New Year be filled with peace, love, and joy! This year, PAR staff worked with two organizations to spread holiday joy to those in need, by fulfilling the wishes from an Angel Tree for the children and teens served by the Joshua House and by adopting a veteran's family through Service Source, part of Abilities Foundation. Click on the attached links to learn more about these incredible organizations and learn how you can get involved.