HISD’s Combined Charities Campaign concluded on Oct. 31 this year, and when all of the pledges were tallied, district employees had contributed more than $309,000 to support their favorite causes.
For Shawn McMahan, HISD’s Combined Charities Campaign is about security—the comfort of never having to wonder if the money she gives is actually getting to the people it’s supposed to help.
“We’ve all had that experience where you’re stopped at the red light and a person shows you a sign asking for money,” explained the Horn Academy ESL teacher. “In your head, you debate whether or not to help them. You may worry that by giving them money, you’re just feeding some bad habit that got them there in the first place. Or you remember the story on the news about scammers who make their living off the generosity of others, but really require no assistance. But how can you look them in the eye and refuse to help? It’s a dilemma.” Continue reading
Sometimes, it’s the small kindnesses that can mean the most to people in a bad situation.
Such was the case for Cynthia Smith, a clerk in HISD’s Police Department, who lost everything back in 2001, when Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than three feet of water on some areas of Houston, leaving about 30,000 people homeless.
Smith was one of the many employees who responded to a survey about why people contribute to the Combined Charities Campaign every year. And in her case, it all boils down to the kindness and quick assistance she received from the American Red Cross.
If Diana Perez had her way, she might not have any money left in her paycheck by the time she finished contributing to various charities.
“If it was up to me, I’d give to everybody,” she said. “But I had to scale back.”
Perez, a writer in HISD’s Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment department, is also a two-time breast cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed in 2005, and then again in 2012.