If you're looking for reasons to be entirely fearful and jaded about one of a myriad of troubling world conditions today, you won't have to look far. Within seconds of logging on, dialing in, or listening to personal accounts and news sources are dystopian realities. But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that there may yet still be hope expressed in the form of kindness and basic goodwill extended by others. Leading up to Christmas Day, I couldn't find a more perfect example of this than in Oakland. As an Oakland-based PR professional, I tend to stay abreast of Oakland-Bay Area PR activities underway. Sometimes, it's less about generating attention and simply giving back, which brings me to the longtime Oakland business, The Home of Chicken and Waffles at the corner of Broadway and The Embarcadero. Kudos to owners of this beloved diner/restaurant who opened their restaurant's doors Christmas Day and provided numerous free dinners to families and individuals. Not only was this a compassionate and kind gesture extended to a growing number of Oakland residents who live homeless, but it was an example of the positive Oakland PR buzz created without ever intending. But, stories such as this one seemed plentiful this holiday. Infact, the following three Holiday PR stories I stumbled upon are entirely heartwarming. I’m identifying them as Holiday PR stories because each occurred during the #2015Christmas season and each one, whether intentionally or not, helped create a powerfully favorable PR impact for all involved.
#1 – North Charleston High School Students Raise Funds for Syrian Refugees: What do you get when you leave a group of high school students alone together? Tremendous compassion. At the North Charleston High School in Charleston, South Carolina, this was never more evident after students first saw the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian refugee, lying lifeless along a Turkish shore. The students were compelled to do something especially after learning more about the conflict in Syria. They proceeded to help by raising approximately $1,900 collected from money which would have gone for lunches and snacks. Instead, they collected and sent their money overseas. Read.
#2 -- 2 Chainz Surprises Disabled Vet Mom and son: just weeks before Christmas this year, Georgia rapper popularly known for provocative lyrics and wearing jewelry exceeding just a few gold chains, transformed the image of the notorious rap lifestyle persona forever. How? By offering help to disabled veteran, Dierdre Plater and her 11-year-old son Isaiah, enabling them to experience the holidays more comfortably. Coming off of the success of his Dabbing Santa ugly Christmas sweaters video, 2 Chainz and the T.R.U. Foundation, an Atlanta nonprofit organization that helps tackle poverty, dismal education, and domestic violence, identified Dierdre and son as a family in need. The rapper along with his young daughters made a surprise visit and gifted Dierdre and Isaiah with payments for rent covering full year. He also provided them with apartment furniture, something they’ve gone without since moving in. This story is a significant for Dierdre and Isaiah, but it also creates favorable impressions of the devoted family man and caring nature of 2 Chainz and for the T.R.U. Foundation, which made it all possible! Watch video.
#3 – Free Haircuts in Ogden: There’s nothing like restoring humanity to anyone enduring homelessness, often the most ignored members of our communities. In Ogden, Utah several Ave Salon stylists donated their time and talent for the sole purpose of helping men at the Ogden Rescue Mission receive spiffed up fresh haircuts. The stylists Brian Brooks and Mandie Barnes who organized the event, helped boost morale for numerous families who benefited from the grooming. The stylists also held a turkey drive to gather provide needed holiday food for families in need within the community and those who stay at the shelter. Mandie and Brian’s gesture was both genuine and compassionate. Watch video.