August 4, 2017 marks a very special day here at Abstrakt Marketing Group: the first ever Abstrakt Gives Back Day. The day was filled with helping hands, happy hearts, hard work, fun, friendship, laughter, good food and even better company. We kicked off the day with a team breakfast and had a pep talk from our CEO, Scott Scully. Our company then had 250 employees along with their significant others, spouses and children disperse throughout the greater St. Louis Area from 9-2 o’clock.  We partnered with 19 different yet amazing organizations: Brightside St. Louis, Companions Forever Rescue, Covenant House Missouri, Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, Fresh Starts Community Garden, Friends of Kids With Cancer, Gateway Greening, Gateway Pet Guardians, Lafeyette Square, Operation Food Search, Pals Pets, Patrick Henry DownTown Academy, Southside Wellness Center, Special Olympics Missouri, The Haven of Grace, Your Garden, YWCA Central Office, YWCA EduCare and YWCA West Florissant Center. Following the wonderful day of service, we invited all the volunteers and partner organizations back to Abstrakt for a reception. We enjoyed delicious food from Café Piazza, cocktails and live music from The Mighty Pines. Our company feel extremely fortunate to be able to touch the lives of many throughout our local community and would love to share a little about our experience with you.

President and CEO Scott Scully said, “I loved the impact that we made on so many lives. I was truly touched when hearing the stories and seeing how many people wanted to give back even more than they did that day. I would like to thank everyone for the effort they put in on Friday and the level of professionalism they displayed.  We have a truly amazing team!” Scully said Abstrakt will absolutely be continuing this new tradition.

Zach Bayer volunteered at Friends of Kids with Cancer. He drove around and bought toys and gift cards for children; then they created gift bags and delivered them to the hospital for the children. His favorite part was delivering the bags to the hospital. Zach said, “It felt good knowing we were doing something to make a difference. My cousin Maddy passed away of cancer at the age of eight and ever since then her dad and our family have been very active in this organization. It was touching to see the people that worked with my cousin and helped her and my family so much when going through the tough time.”

Greg Heins volunteered at the Special Olympic Kickball game. His favorite part of the day was being able to open up and interact with the athletes, also getting to know them on a personal level and lastly getting to see a few of the athletes do thing they never thought were possible due to the circumstances. Heins said, “The most touching part of the day was in two different situations throughout the day. First was being able to help Brennan pitch and have fun. For most kids his age, pitching in kickball is an everyday simple task. But after hearing his mom say she was filming him because he has never done this before and she wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to do it again. To have a child go through life with struggles that makes pitching in kickball a task to “conquer” whether it physically or emotionally must be extremely tough. Having the opportunity to be a part of him doing this was a feeling that cannot be duplicated. The second way I was touched was back at Abstrakt’s Reception when Christa came to the after party. She was so full of love for all of us that played kickball with her that day. She was so full of love for everybody and kept displaying it, and her parents were so grateful for us participating they were brought to tears multiple times.”

Jacqueline Roberts went to Companions Forever Rescue. Jacqueline helped unload the trucks, set up tables, organize yard sale items, price items and assist customers.  Roberts said, “It was a good feeling to speak with the lady who owns the rescue, Beth Albus, and listen to how much passion she has for the organization.  The name of the organization being “Companions Forever” is her message.  She wants to bring awareness to people who get animals that they are a lifetime commitment for the life of that animal.  Her organization helps to bridge the gap for animals who were not given the lifetime commitment.  She fosters pets until a stable, proper, suitable home can be found for each one of them.  In the meantime, she bears all the expense for food, vet care, etc. It was a good to know that we could help her with a fund-raiser for these displaced animals.  We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Ena Taylor worked with Crisis Nursery this past Friday.  She repacked close to 2,500 diapers and organized their storage. They give a day worth of diapers to families who need them. She said they were told that the diapers they packed are only for a week!! That’s a lot of diapers. They also packed school supplies to give out. Ena’s favorite part of the day was seeing shelves filled with repacked diapers! She was most touched by seeing the kids smile and wave at us. Ena said, “Despite what they are going through, they still find ways to smile and be happy. Those kids are very resilient and tough! I was very grateful for what I have, but I would like to share more. I am looking forward to helping more.”

Kate Holton gave her Friday to Gateway Greening. Kate helped to cut down invasive trees and plants along the fence line of the garden.  Her favorite part of the day was having the opportunity to work alongside my team members on a project that served our community. Kate was most touched by the gratefulness of the staff there. “At the end of the day we only spent 3 hours working yet they served us up an amazing meal and could not stop thanking us. It inspired me to continue finding ways to serve my community. If three hours made a difference, how much more could one day a month make?” said Kate.

Michael Carter volunteered at Lafayette Square.  Carter helped with thinning out garden beds, removing weeds/bushes and mulching the garden.  He was most touched by how much help they were able to provide the volunteers at Lafayette Square who do this out of the kindness of their hearts each and every day.

Kimberly Hageman volunteered at Operation Food Search this Friday.  She helped make a bagged dinner for over 1,000 families. The meal was a recipe, pasta, seasoning, canned corn, canned beans and canned tomatoes.  Kim’s favorite part of the day was the team building experience. Everyone put aside their differences to help create those meals in a fast-efficient manner.  Hageman said they learned some scary statistics about hunger in the St. Louis area and what touched her the most was all of the organizations and programs in place to help battle that hunger. Kim said, “We also learned that Operation food search not only helps out in St. Louis and neighboring Illinois counties, but they are also an incubator for new and up in coming non-for profits. They help others succeed which is awesome!”

John Wallace worked with PALS Animal Shelter. John brought his 8-year-old son, Jack also known as “Pip Squeak” along for the day. When John came to work today, Pip Squeak was begging to come back with him because he had such an amazing time at give back day. John and Pip Squeak helped clean dog and cat cages, did laundry, mopped floors, kept the doggies and kitties occupied and they also made new friends. John’s favorite part of the day was when Josh Costello’s daughter, Jordyn, made friends with a doggy that was afraid of men, especially men with hats and beards, which was pretty much all the guys that volunteered.  The doggy wouldn’t come out of her cage for John, so he could clean it, but that was no problem for Jordyn.  John said, “The enthusiasm that the kids we brought with us showed for volunteering and helping out was what touched John the most.”

Katie Payne volunteered at The Haven of Grace which is a long-term shelter for pregnant women over the age of 18. Their team was responsible for multiple tasks to include picking up trash in their lawn, picking up trash from the bus stop across the street before it blew into their lawn, cleaning an apartment, so a new mom and child could move in, power-washing and pulling weeds from the children’s play area, and organizing their incentive closet. Her favorite part of the day was seeing how helping others can impact a person and a company.  Katie said, “Most days we are all focused on our own tasks and our own needs, but for an entire day we came together from different departments of the company, and worked hard for others.  Everyone was in a great mood, and coming back to Abstrakt for the after party was no different.  Everyone was beaming and couldn’t wait to share their experiences.  What an AWESOME day for St. Louis and for Abstrakt!” Katie was most touched by the cause of the organization her team was working for, and that they could be a part of it.  She said, “In a nutshell, they are helping keep women and children safe, and also helping to stop them from the cycle of poverty they were born into.  They house women and children for up to three years, and are then willing to still be a support for them for up to an additional 10 years after that. Most of us have family we can lean on if we’re working hard but just can’t pay the electric bill one month.  These women and children don’t have that, and something as simple as a power bill can put these families back into poverty.  The Haven of Grace is the family and support these families need to not only get on their feet, but stay on their feet.”

Although the goal was to affect the lives of those around us, our own lives were effected along the way. If you are interested in joining the fun or donating to any of the wonderful organizations, we would love to help you get started. We feel blessed to have gotten the chance to work with such amazing organization and cannot wait to partner with them, along with others again in the future.