How to be a handraiser this holiday season

For many, the holiday season serves as a reminder to give thanks and give back. Getting involved in the community is a great opportunity to bring friends, family and coworkers together and to raise awareness about the community’s needs. For nearly a century, the St. Louis community has come together to help local families and people in need during the holidays through 100 Neediest Cases.

Learn more about why local people are raising their hands each holiday season to answer the call to help our neighbors.

Rally Your Coworkers and Company

A lot of local companies are no stranger to group volunteering opportunities. Adopting a family or individual through 100 Neediest Cases is an easy and meaningful way to help address specific needs and make the holiday season brighter for people in the Greater St. Louis region. The effect a company can have on local families is felt through the agencies that serve them.

“The impact has been profound. The families really get an opportunity to receive gifts, including monetary, that they would not have received otherwise,” said Audrea Swims, family partnership administrator with YWCA St. Louis.

The YWCA has partnered with for the past several 100 Neediest Cases campaigns. Audrea explained that seeing the generosity from others through this program reminds her why she does what she does.

“We are truly blessed to have a company such as Bayer to provide that kind of love to our families,” she said.

Whether it’s helping provide a new winter coat to a senior in need, delivering a bike to a child or simply donating online, coworkers collaborating to help lighten the load for their neighbors makes a significant impact both in the community and in the office. Adopting a family with a few coworkers or even making it an entire department effort gives employees the opportunity to make meaningful connections with each other and build comradery over the shared goal of helping local families.

Make It a Group Effort

Giving is better together. Social media is one way to inspire your network to collaborate and spread holiday cheer.

For Angela, turning to social media proved to be a simple way to not only raise money, but to also increase awareness about the ongoing needs in our community. Utilizing the 100 Neediest Cases fundraising platform, Angela and her network raised more than $1,000 for an adopted family in less than three hours. They also collected a carload of gifts, just by spreading the word about the fundraiser on social media.

“[The fundraising process] was very much a group effort. I was the organizer, but organizing it was easy. I shared the link to the fundraising page on my Facebook and made it public so people could share it,” Angela said. “People were donating $20, $25, $15—it was just that many people donating little by little until we reached the goal. And it just kept going. I’m fortunate to know so many good people with generous hearts.”

Angela said she and her friends felt drawn to 100 Neediest Cases because they, too, have been in situations when they need help. She explained that, as millennials, online fundraising is an easy and familiar way to donate to a cause. By choosing a cause to rally around through United Way, the group knew they could trust that the money is going directly to the adopted family.

“Even if we don’t have much money to give, we can give our time. We can think about who might be in our network and make connections that enable us to care for others,” Angela said. “100 Neediest Cases makes the case for generosity an easy one.”

Keep With Family Tradition

Local high school student Katie was taught at a young age about giving back through the idea of a “giving box”, where Katie saves a portion of her allowance to donate to charity. While she was growing up, her parents read her the featured stores of 100 Neediest Cases in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

When she was in first grade, she began to understand that there were many people in need in her community. Katie told her parents, “I want to give my giving box money to people who don’t even have a penny.” They knew that 100 Neediest Cases would be a great fit.

Since then, each year, Katie empties her giving box, counts the money she’s accumulated from babysitting and allowance, writes a letter and sends in her donation—a tradition that’s lived on for ten years.


“If you have all that you need, think about other people that don’t,” Katie said. “Is it worth it to buy a new pair of shoes for yourself if you already have enough? Or is it more worth it to give it to someone or somewhere else who needs it more than you do?”

Take action now:

Gather your coworkers and adopt a family this holiday season.

Create an online fundraising page to help people in need; share with your family and friends and watch your impact grow.

James Taylor
James Taylor