By: Preon Evans, SINC Team Member
I’ve always had a passion for charitable acts, mainly because I was a recipient of those same acts growing up. My mom was a young single mother after my father was killed and wouldn’t have gotten us to where we are today without receiving assistance from others. Section 8 housing and WIC were important contributing factors in allowing my mother to pay or daycare and attend night classes at our local community college, but the more notable charities came from others. My first instance I can remember truly being affected by was an after school program called “Team Prime Time.” There I received free after school care and assistance with school work while working as a sports coach for other children who had learning disabilities and behavioral needs. The program was allowed me to do well in school while saving my mother money, but it also taught me what it means to feel fulfilled and to be giving.
Since then, I’ve been drawn towards helping others in my community and I’ve made it a mission to include charitable acts in my life. Work is a huge role in my life, as I’m sure it is for most of us. We spend 8-10 hours a day working which is nearly a third of our time. Having a job that allows me to include my passions is extremely important to me and SINC does just that. At the time I was being hired, I shared this passion with Ross and Amir while explaining that I’d be missing a few Wednesday’s as I tutored middle school students in Math with APIE ( Austin Partners In Education). Not only were they understanding, but they mentioned that they’d like to participate in more communal outreach and asked if I’d be able to help.
After joining SINC, I immediately saw things come in to fruition. We participated directly in several charitable events, which you may have seen if you follow me on LinkedIn, and had a lot of fun as team in the process. Sock drives for patients undergoing chemo treatment, volunteering at the animal shelter, food drive, planting trees and more. We all contributed ideas as a group and it allowed us to contribute to several causes. This wasn’t an easy feat given the amount of events we hosted last year, the amount of travel we all do and syncing everyone’s schedule, but it was important to all of us that we made time to do so.
It got to a point that I began traveling more often and squeezing in volunteering on my weekends before flying out to the next event and I thought to myself: “How can I help while I’m on the road.” Then one day, I posted a collection of toiletries I’d been collecting from the numerous hotel stays and a relative of mine suggested I donate the items. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this myself, but I was grateful for the recommendations. I shared the idea with my SINC team in a Slack channel and received an overwhelming amount of support.
Fast forward to $700 in donations and over 50 hotel items later, my idea became an even greater reality. I was able to create 67 care packages. Each including over a dozen items such as socks, hand sanitizer, toothbrush & toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, wipes, flip flops and plenty more essential items we may take for granted on the daily basis. I went to a local homeless shelter, homeless resource center and the Salvation Army to distribute the items. The staff and members of each organization were extremely grateful and the homeless shelter even gave me a private tour of the facility to help me better understand how they operate. The experience was very eye-opening and I’m extremely grateful for my teammates and friends who help me turn this idea in to a successful act.
Upon speaking with the staff and a few individuals currently experiencing homelessness, I learned that there is a location here in Austin where the homeless are being held in order to reduce their presence in Downtown. These folks are essentially “out of sight” and therefore “out of mind.” My next act will include gathering more supplies to take to this homeless community because they severely lack the resources. With our entire team onboard, I’m certain we’ll create a significant impact! Make sure to follow our SINC LinkedIn page for stay up to date on our charitable services or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to donate resources.