Company’s ethos inspires $5,000 donation
“Paying it forward” is a concept one local firm hopes others will emulate after the furniture and clothing store Orange Bay Company handed over $5,000 to the social help agency Family Centre yesterday.
It was one of the first donations received by the Centre under its 2015 “Change Starts With Me” campaign, marking its 25th year in operation.
Company head Delight Morris said she had started her business in 2009 with the mission of helping people to furnish their homes on a budget.
“It was also our intention to have Orange Bay Company support local charities, financially and with donations in kind,” Mrs Morris explained.
The “paying it forward” concept applies to recipients of a good deed passing on the favour to others, and for Ms Morris it has always been a business philosophy. Since its inception, Orange Bay has raised more than $75,000 to donate to Bermuda charities.
“Our focus on giving back to the community is part of the reason that our consignors bring their previously loved items to us,” said Mrs Morris.
“They know their pieces will find homes with people who appreciate them, and that the sale of those pieces helps support the work of organisations that are promoting progress within our community.”
It was a welcome start to Family Centre’s campaign, since the group has set its sights on 2015 as the year in which it develops a strategy for consistent funding, along with presenting the community with the tangible results of its work.
Family Centre started with a focus on improving children’s well-being and helping families evolved as a corollary to that mission.
But as the Island’s economy languished even as living expenses continued to climb, the Centre has found itself dealing more and more with needy families simply struggling to cover their basic expenses, according to its founder and executive director Martha Dismont.
“We really feel that it’s important, if we’ve been in service for 25 years, to show what our impact has been,” she told The Royal Gazette.
“Part of that will be to bring forward our success stories, from children whose families were in our service,” she said.
“As part of those success stories, we want to talk about the courage that it takes to go and get help when you need it. People tend not to talk about the challenges that have hit them. They feel ashamed or in denial; others have no clue that something has to change.
“But when it does, they have to make a decision — therefore, we want to highlight people who decided to make that change.”
A core element of celebrating the decision to alter one’s life is the celebration of decisions to make “children a priority”, she added.
All this work is contingent on fundraising, and second on the 2015 wish list is developing sustainable funding.
“It has been so difficult in the Bermuda environment, with unpredictable funding streams, to maintain consistency of serving families,” Ms Dismont said.
Among the funding events will be a telethon. Family Centre continues to court sponsors, and is seeking entrepreneurial projects that they might be able to partner with — companies whose profits could go to charity.
“We’ll also continue to seek funding from Government,” Ms Dismont said. “We serve the highest risk families on the Island. Consequently we believe, as we have told Government, that if we can serve those families for Government at a cheaper rate than Government services, then we would ultimately be saving Government money.”
Anyone whose family came through Family Centre’s services, and who would like to share the story of their success, is invited to contact the organisation at 232-1116, or firstname.lastname@example.org.