A Time To Give Back

in Editor's Note

Justin LangIt’s that time of year.  The cold weather has set in, the big events of the year are long gone and everyone prepares for the holiday season.  It has been one crazy year! It has gotten to the point that I don’t even know what month we are currently in unless I go back to my calendar. Time has certainly flown by, with the roller coaster of life showing no sign of slowing done.

For the video, go to www.plsn.me/201212ednote.

As a conductor of my own ride or life, I’m not about to step on the brakes, but I’m certainly planning on slowing down this holiday season.  I enjoy this time of year — looking back at the past year, enjoying time with friends and family. If I don’t, then what’s the point of all of this? It’s this time of year that I take others into consideration. It would be nice to say that I do this year round, but not like the holiday season.  Sure, I help out friends as they need it, but what about those who are not in my circle, or even my life?

Since the Parnelli Awards, I’ve been thinking about how the act of helping others should not just be a passing impulse, or something to do when the time is right. When you think about it, when is it not right to help others?

Charlie Hernandez, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award winner,  gave an amazing speech at the Parnelli Awards. It wasn’t just about thanking people or talking about his life’s work, but how we can all elevate ourselves by caring and contributing to others. Charlie spoke with such passion and charisma that the entire hall fell silent and hung on every word.  Some would say that he spoke as though he was at the pulpit, preaching about his beliefs. That may be so, but when you care deeply enough about something, the passion shows through your words.

His passion really showed his commitment to others, and helping the helpless. And he spoke from solid experience. Charlie had been put his words into action in 2010, when he started Just a Bunch of Roadies (www.justabunchofroadies.org). He used his network of friends to help raise funds and relief efforts for the victims in the Haiti earthquake.  He brought together companies and individuals from around the industry to start the coalition. Since then, Just a Bunch of Roadies has been helping victims of other disasters and accidents.

Not everyone has the means and determination like Charlie to start a charity to help others. While we mean well and wish to help, there are numerous organizations to support, both nationally and locally.

Another charity to consider that hits close to home for all of us is the ESTA Foundation’s Behind the Scenes, which, as you probably already know, is a nonprofit organization that steps in to provide financial support to entertainment technology industry professionals when they are ill or injured.

PLSN put Behind the Scenes front and center with the feature article that appeared on page 72 of the Oct. 2012 issue (www.plsn.me/PLSN201210-BTS). The article noted how BTS helps, not just with emergency funding, but with the speed that it can help those with emergency needs. That helps make sure that little problems, like the inability to buy needed medicine or pay a month’s rent, don’t become much more serious issues. Another sobering take-away from that article: while the BTS endowment is well past $500,000, the goal is $5 million. There’s still a long way to go.

What can you do when you’ve given all you can, and your own wallet is empty? There are lots of kinds of support that don’t have anything to do with that wallet. Giving your time, and donation items like food, blood and clothing can mean just as much as contributing dollars.

In late October, superstorm Sandy took her toll on the East Coast. Some of our friends and companies that we deal with on a daily basis were hit hard, losing untold thousands of dollars in materials, merchandise and equipment.

If you have ever meet a New Yorker, however, you know of their own hurricane-like determination and drive. Most of these companies are getting back on their feet. While their owners are grateful for the outpouring of support and patience with interruptions in deliveries and so forth, one of the most meaningful ways to continue supporting them is to continue to use their services and buy their products.

Not all victims suffering hardships are unable to recover on their own. But by donating to charities like the Red Cross, you can make that road to recovery a lot shorter. And it’s getting easier than ever to give. You can now donate $10 to the Red Cross via text. You have to love technology.

Newspapers and TV stations carry news about people who are in dire need all around the world, every single day. But if you’re inclined to help, you don’t have to look farther than your own community. Throughout the country, there are numerous families less fortunate than us that rely on shelters and food banks. Supporting your local community by providing non-perishable food items means that a family in need might have a brighter holiday season.

As we close out 2012, remember those less fortunate and those in need while enjoying the holidays with friends and family.  From all of us at PLSN magazine, we wish you a happy holiday and a bright New Year.