‘Tis the season to give back… and Signalites are more than prepared.
All year long, Signal encourages employees to dedicate their time to serving the Chicago community, but our efforts ramp up during the holiday season. Not only do Signalites enjoy helping others, but volunteering also gives staffers the opportunity to get to know each other outside of the office.
“My parents always encouraged me help out those less fortunate in my free time. Luckily, Signal gives me opportunities to volunteer in the local community,” said Josh Valenzuela, Signal sales account manager. “To be able to do so alongside my co-workers is a fun and rewarding way to spend any afternoon.”
Here’s how Signal helped others during the final months of 2017.
Culinary Cares Cook-Off
To kick off the fall season, Signal sponsored a team in the third annual Corporate Cook-Off, an event created by Culinary Care, a non-profit delivering complimentary meals to ensure Chicagoans fighting cancer need not worry about feeding themselves and their families.
For the event, five Signalites from various departments threw on their aprons to square off against other companies in a Chopped-style cooking competition, but with a twist — to create tasty and health-focused dishes. To add to the fun, top chefs from across the Chicagoland area cooked alongside teams, with Aaron Cuschieri, the head chef at The Dearborn, assisting the Signal crew. Friends and families of participants also were on hand to watch their loved ones compete for bragging rights, sip craft cocktails and enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by past winners.
“My favorite part was the teamwork and camaraderie around the event,” said Kevin Grace, Signal’s technology coordinator. “Everywhere you looked, there were smiling faces and helping hands full of compassion for the cause. As an ex-chef with over 15 years in the industry, it was incredibly rewarding to create delicious, health-focused food. It gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘comfort food,’ and taught me exactly what Culinary Cares is all about.”
Signal Service Day
In late October, Signalites took an afternoon away from the office to combat hunger with the Chicago Food Depository. Volunteers sorted, packaged and boxed up elbow macaroni — 2,208 bags in all, each weighing around 3 lbs. — for families and food pantries in need.
“We are proud to be founded and headquartered in Chicago, and we believe giving back to the community that has allowed us to thrive is extremely important,” said Alex Applebaum, Signal’s talent and development analyst. “Building relationships with organizations like the Greater Chicago Food Depository allows us to make a positive impact.”
Letters to Santa
In true holiday spirit, Signalites jumped on the opportunity to participate in the annual Letters to Santa program, run through Direct Effect Charities. Through this program, kids from Chicago’s neediest communities write and draw missives to Santa Claus, asking for things that might brighten their holidays… requests answered by sponsors like Signal.
Signal responded to letters from students ages 3-9 at the Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez School in Chicago’s Little Village — an area where, 73% of students live below the poverty level, according to the school’s principal. Many of the letters were written by the school’s teachers, since a number of the children are living with significant disabilities.
Signal collected 132 Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez letters in all, buying the requested toys, books and apparel ahead of the company’s mid-December Holiday Extrav(give)ganza gift-wrapping blowout. The gifts were then dropped off at school for Santa to distribute.
“Signal chose this charity because the gifts go directly to the kids who write [the letters],” said Matt Sergot, Signal’s office coordinator. “The response to this program has been overwhelming. Many employees have taken more than one letter in hopes of making a child’s holiday special.”