This holiday season at Veracode wasn't just spent at a computer like any other day. It’s the time of year that the generosity of its employees shines by making Christmas magical for children in need. Although this is not the first time Cindy Conrad of Veracode has worked with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) based in Malden, MA, it is the first year Veracode has partnered with them to make a memory for those children, and what a memory it is!
With the help of Conrad, Rose Mini and her team of social workers collected gifts for 47 children around Middlesex County who would otherwise receive very few, if any, Christmas presents. All of the children are between one and 21 years old. They live in broken homes, with parents battling substance abuse, or are living in foster care. Twenty-one year old Eddie is the oldest child in the program, but he holds a special place in both Conrad and Mini’s heart. Eddie has severe cognitive disabilities, and is going into a group home right after Christmas, but through the generosity on Veracode he will have something to be thankful for this year.
Each child had three wishes that Veracode employees granted, “but in many cases the people who ‘adopted’ the child gave much more,” says Conrad who shared her Christmas with two young girls.
Mini, who has been working in social services for 28 years, was blown away by the generosity and support of Veracode and its employees. “I am always amazed at the thoughtfulness and genuine care you put into your giving,” she says. “On so many occasions you have put expense aside to give our kids the Christmas morning of their lives.” She also went on to thank the Veracode employees from the bottom of her heart. “I want to thank you for being so unconditional. But most of all, at the hardest time of the year for these kids, we want to thank you for standing in the gap. Though it might have seemed small, you have helped to change a memory permanently.”
Mini also noted the gratitude of not only the children, but the parents too. “This year one Mom I work with, overwhelmed by all I had brought, looked at me with tears in her eyes and said ‘I don’t know what to say. I couldn't have ever given this to my kids.’ Though she couldn't, you did! This mom hugged me at least ten times, hugs I want to pass on to you because without you it wouldn't have been possible.”
In addition to giving to the DCF, Veracode also hosted a teddy bear drive this holiday season. Employees donated 110 teddy bears to give to children of military families whose parents were not able to be with their families over the holidays as well as to the Children’s room at Boston Medical Center.
It is hard to imagine the look on a child’s face when they receive a gift, but for these children it means so much more. The gifts came from people who put their own needs aside to give back to someone else, and these children will remember it for years to come.