'Giving Thanks': Helping the Hungry

Mediaspace Sends Out Food-Bank Starter Kits in Place of Gift Baskets

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In place of its holiday food gifts, Mediaspace Solutions has sent out 430 food-drive starter kits to clients and partners around the country. The Norwalk, Conn.-based newspaper and online advertising services provider is hoping its bags of packaged goods will encourage people to continue to add to the packages and donate them to local food banks.

For the program -- called "Giving Thanks" -- Mediaspace sent out packages of three to five items, such as stuffing, dried cranberries, pumpkin bread mix and hot chocolate, and asked each recipient to add their own donations. To make the process easier, the agency included a list of local food banks compiled through its newspaper partners .

"As the number of jobless Americans hovers at 15 million, there continues to be high demand for donations to pantries and food banks nationwide," says Scot Kerr, president of Mediaspace. "['Giving Thanks'] was created last year by our marketing folks as something to put in place of the normal holiday gift giving we would do. We traditionally send our customers and partners gift baskets. It seemed like a more appropriate thing to give our customers something more valuable."

The program, which started with about 250 packages, is targeted at the individuals Mediaspace does business with. "If we work with a client team with four people, we might have sent four of these packages," Mr. Kerr says. "They're being opened by people who know us. They can organize an effort around it as an office."

So far, Mr. Kerr says, the project has gotten positive feedback. In fact, the agency plans to follow up with an e-mail soliciting feedback and suggestions for the future.

"The people we are talking to are very excited about it and think it's an incredibly thoughtful thing to do," he says. "This is a program that we would like to make a tradition at Mediaspace Solutions."

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