For 33 years the Bethesda community, led by Hyatt Regency Bethesda and the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce along with the BCC Rescue Squad, have made a tradition out of celebrating the holidays with those in our community who need a little extra. Unfortunately, the onset of COVID-19 has made that need greater and more urgent than in years past. We knew we didn’t want to do the same thing in the name of tradition, when the need and resources were more different than ever.
Last year, St. John’s Norwood Episcopal Church reached out with a way for us to serve those we serve every December as well as more of those who find themselves food insecure, possibly for the first time because of COVID-19. St. John’s had already aligned with the BCC Rescue Squad as a location for distribution and had partnered with Nourish Now to get food in the hands of those who need it on a weekly basis. Now, instead of a one-time dinner celebration, we have the wonderful opportunity to feed our community and spread holiday cheer every single week of December. This new endeavor is called Nourishing Bethesda, and the GBCC involvement in the endeavor is called the Goodwill Dinner Coalition.
The distribution happens every Friday in December from 1pm – 3pm. This year we will be distributing 350 of the following:
December 3: Wreaths
December 10: Gingerbread Houses
December 17: Family dinner for 6
December 24: Pies
December 31: Hats, Gloves, & Scarves
Read on to find out ways you can help!
(How You Can Help
Serving 350 families is no small task, and we NEED your help!
There are two ways we ask the Bethesda community to support the Goodwill Dinner Coalition.
THANK YOU in advance for your support and generosity. Together, we can make an impact on the lives around us, and spread some joy in our community.
- The Goodwill Dinner Coalition
By Arianna Ross, CEO of Story Tapestries
Creating possibilities for children to fall in love with learning. The partnership between local Non-Profits like Story Tapestries and businesses make a HUGE difference in how our children and families feel supported.
Just watch their eyes light up with JOY!: https://youtu.be/mVFyc4zPJJA
The video shared above is just one example of the power of collaboration. It came about with the support of individuals like local businesses and community partners who are invested in your community, alongside local businesses, educators, and artists. Story Tapestries has witnessed over and over again the incredible power of the arts to shift the dynamics so community members focus on what “WE” can create, realizing the capacity we each have to create possibility for another person.
It is so exciting and humbling to see businesses stepping up and supporting the ability to make this kind of “magic” happen. Our network - that’s you, another local member of the Bethesda Chamber of Commerce - is a true gift as you’re constantly thinking about how you can support the community through giving back to one of your partners, volunteering or…...
The question that you might be asking is how does this happen? Sometimes a business reaches out to a non-profit like Story Tapestries and asks the organization for our support in marketing their products. Other times, a business has a social philanthropic policy and the non-profit aligns with their giving philosophy. Either way, once the partnership is born, magic happens and the organizations work together for the good of the community.
For example, local business contributions have expanded the reach of arts programs to over 350,000 community members this year - WOW! Their support has grown beyond a simple donation of dollars to a true partnership that values the capacity for the arts to impact learning. The shift began with conversations with local business owners like Dottie Fitzgerald of Fitz Auto Mall. When Dottie heard about the urgent issues community members were facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was moved to action. Families did not have the tools they needed to support strong, passionate, committed, thoughtful learners. Youth were failing - struggling academically as well as emotionally - and the education gap was growing. Parents were mentally exhausted and worried about how to make ends meet while also helping their children be successful. Story Tapestries had a proven solution: provide access to supplies and engaging learning opportunities that use the arts to make the information and experience fun and inclusive of all. Dottie, and others, jumped in to make sure the youth who needed these resources the most had access.
As a result, students expanded their minds and discovered a LOVE of learning!
Most recently, a teacher at Charles Drew Elementary School said, “Jonathan, he struggles to learn. He has not given an authentic answer all year. But this past month (working with a Story Tapestries teaching artist) he wrote four poems. He shined. He came out of his shell.” Another teacher shared that her students treasure the supplies they received in their arts and literacy kit like they are gold because before we sent them their pens, pencils, markers and journals, they used to do their math on paper towels.
After listening, community members like Dottie and her team at Fitz Auto Malls truly stepped up. They made a cash donation so that Story Tapestries could immediately get started buying supplies and providing effective programs. After speaking with their managers, they set in motion a supply drive with two of their dealerships to gather further supplies. In a short period of time, they collected 1,140 items that we used to put together 400 arts and literacy kits! After they stepped up to the plate, other businesses and nonprofits stepped in and joined the effort. Last year, to complement our virtual and in-person programs, we gave out 9,000+ arts and literacy kits. The need is still great, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you to expand our reach to 10,000 more youth who can’t wait to receive their own kit!
The key is that the business partnered with an organization to support the community. Together we were stronger.
Want to learn more about Story Tapestries:
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Transforming Office Building Access for Today's Needs
Since the pandemic hit, office building security has come to have a new meaning, and Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce member Datawatch Systems is an expert in access control, transforming the commercial office environment. Managing access to over 100,000 doors nationwide, Datawatch is an industry leader. With a multi-point program designed to manage and address the concerns of the modern office building, Datawatch helps its customers by providing the latest and best options to keep tenants and visitors safe and comfortable.
It Matters More than Ever
Building access control and monitoring systems have always addressed multiple priorities. From personal safety to physical and intellectual property protection, commercial office buildings owners and property managers need to adapt to their tenants' unique needs and concerns. Health has become a priority as well. "Our clients need to help their tenants with social distancing and other safety protocols, and we need to have accurate, immediate information to be able to trace exposure to the COVID-19 virus so we can inform occupants and visitors," says Joe Leightner, Vice President Of Sales, for Datawatch. Since Datawatch has decades of experience in this business, "We were able to leverage our unique blend of hardware, software, and processes to provide solutions to the challenge facing businesses operating in the pandemic."
Among the challenges Datawatch has addressed are the hybrid office, touchless access, and scaling from hyper-local to national operations. "Datawatch is based in Bethesda, but our clients need to offer management and protection throughout the United States," says Stephanie Doggett, Datawatch Customer Service Manager. Datawatch works with some of the most recognized names in the commercial real estate industry and brings its knowledge and skill to all of its relationships with a constantly advancing collection of sophisticated solutions.
Commercial Real Estate & Tenant Solutions
Today's commercial office space requires a sophisticated collection of solutions to manage the comings and goings of anywhere from dozens to thousands of people a day. Each building has unique challenges, like physical configuration that require custom solutions. Does a building have a visitor desk, elevators dedicated to specific floors, retail and office space, or public parking? All of these elements and more can impact a Datawatch design. Datawatch offers these work place solutions:
According to Ted Low, Senior VP Business Development, "Office building owners don't want to have to go to multiple vendors to find solutions to each of these issues and then have to manage the integration of these various systems." A single source for all of these needs, supported by trained, professional staff, allows buildings to offer peace of mind and convenience to their tenants, which increases the value of the space. Datawatch is able to offer design, installation and operation of the most technologically advanced systems, and its teams provide training and facilitate integration of systems for new construction, suite and building remodels, or replacement of outdated systems.
Located in the Bethesda area since 1981, this business has come to be synonymous with quality and safety in the Washington, DC Metro area. "We are proud members of the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, which has always been an important organization for us," says Paula Crosby, Marketing Director for Datawatch. To learn more about Datawatch, visit their website.
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