Once you’re past a certain age, giving, rather than receiving, is what the holidays are all about. To get in the holiday spirit, every year Bramble Berry teams up with the Salvation Army to holiday shop for families in need. This year, the team shopped for more than 10 families! Team Bramble Berry had a blast picking out toys, clothing, housewares and anything else on the family’s wish list. A couple volunteer hours later, items for each person were crossed off the list.
Each team member received a list for a specific person to aid their shopping. This list included what type of items the recipient wanted, along with any sizes or personal preferences. Below, Joe and I skim the coupons for any extra savings. More savings means more presents!
Ashley in production strolls down the aisle, shopping for clothes for a few teenage girls. Each wish list included sizes for tops and pants, making clothes shopping much easier.
Lily was full of smiles as usual, and had a blast “helping” us shop. Below, Lily tries on a pair of rain boots. She is already quite the little shopper! She absconded quickly down the aisles with quite a few things she wanted to take home and had so much fun letting me chase her around to get her ‘treasures’ back.
With wish-list in hand, Katy stands by the cart ready to get shopping; below on the left, warehouse manager Mike looks for a pair of shoes for a young girl. On the bottom right, Lindsey consults her family’s wish list, who was looking for a “talking educational toy” for a 3-year-old girl.
(Left to right) Grant, Lindsey and Amber share a few laughs while shopping. The annual shopping trip is a great chance for the entire team to converse and get to know one another. During the hustle and bustle of the work week this can be difficult, so it’s a blast to get the opportunity to chat.
Ryan and Elizabeth shop for various items for their families. In addition to toys and clothes, many families were in need of kitchen gadgets, housewares and furnishings.
Below, Lily and I peruse the Christmas aisle to grab wrapping paper. On the left, Natasha, picks up a pair of adorable rain boots. On the right, Emily strolls through the kitchen department to cross items off her list.
George fills up his cart with items for a young boy. His gifts include a basketball, remote control cars and Legos. Sounds like a great Christmas morning!
Lily and Chris take a little break from shopping in the home furnishings department. Such a smiley little girl =) Jamisen stayed in the play area of the store during the shopping trip; he had never spent time in the daycare area and had a blast playing with all the new toys. He was soooooo sad when it was time to leave.
Katie picks out a couple winter coats to ensure the kiddos stay warm this winter. Shon and Grant shop for some shoes for a young boy…how cute are those sneakers?
Take a look at that line of Brambleberrians! Luckily, Fred Meyer’s was prepared for us, and devoted a register at the end of the store for our transaction. Below on the left, is a cart filled to the brim with toys and clothes. On the right, gift cards are loaded up to provide families money for groceries.
Customer service manager Tina loads up the belt with her items, while Ari and Emily wait for their turn. Once the items were rung through, the team waited to help load up the cars with presents. Below, from left, Natasha, Grant, Amanda Kelsey, Ashley, Mike and Katy wait patiently while the remaining items are scanned.
After each group of items is ran through the register, it’s quickly bagged and labeled so the correct person gets their gifts. This is not an easy task when the items are heavy housewares, or as shown below, car seats!
Once all the items were run through the register, Fred Meyer was kind enough to give us 10% off all clothes and toys, putting the total below budget. The leftover money was used to purchase gift cards for the families to purchase food.
Then came the best (and most nerve wracking!) part of the trip…sliding the credit card!
The final receipt was huge, over five feet long! Below, our awesome cashier prints the receipt. As you can see, the receipt was taller than Caitlin in production, and almost taller than me!
After all the items were loaded in the cart, it was time to squeeze everything into carts. Austin, along with Caitlin, Ari, Emily and Tina head to the parking lot.
The shopping crew!
With bags and bags of clothes, toys and other items, Mike’s Subaru was filled to the brim with goods. We almost fit everything, but eventually needed a backup car to bring all the items to the Salvation Army. This years shopping trip was one of the best yet! Check out some shopping trips from the past here, here and here.
I’m so thankful to have such a fun group of team members that are willing to donate their time to help others. I hope all the families love their gifts, and have a fantastic Christmas morning. I also want to give a big thank you to our customers for supporting us in 2014. Your support is the reason we are able to do the annual Salvation Army shopping trip!
Do you have a favorite way to give back during the holidays?