Giving Back During The Holidays at NYCM Insurance - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Dec 23, 2020

Giving Back During The Holidays at NYCM Insurance

NYCM Insurance has always valued giving back to the community and the holiday season has been known to foster a little extra magic amongst our offices. While NYCM employees work incredibly hard to make sure their families are ready to celebrate the holiday season,  they also work to make sure families within our communities are able to celebrate, too.

Continue reading for an inside look at a few of the holiday outreach programs our employees run each year! 


Helping Hands

Helping Hands is a program all about giving back to our local communities. Jodi Hawes of our underwriting team, and founder of Helping Hands has worked alongside fellow devoted employees for 21 years to build the amazing program.  Each year, the Helping Hands team, made up of employees within our Edmeston office, anonymously supports families in need through local organizations. The program serves families throughout Otsego, Chenango, Herkimer, Oneida, and Madison counties.  NYCM employees donate funds and items to the many fundraisers held throughout the season. “The NYCM family has been very giving to us, matching all donations [at] 100%” states Jodi. “As a mother I always tried to teach my kids the importance of giving back.  Look around -- there are so many in need, help them, give them hope.  That is what Helping Hands is trying to do.”


Helping Hands partners with organizations such as the Otsego County Department of Social Services, Edmeston Rotary, West Winfield Rotary, Brookfield Central School, UV Central School, Chase Nursing Home, Harding Nursing Home, ICAN, Feed Our Vets, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, and West Hill Terrace in Edmeston.


While the pandemic has influenced the program to operate differently this year, Helping Hands has persevered to meet their goals.  Rather than shopping in person, all items were purchased online. In the past, our employee acapella group Carols Carolers has helped deliver meals, as well as sing Christmas carols to the residents of West Hill Terrace in Edmeston. Due to the circumstances surrounding this year, there will be no caroling, however the meals will continue to be delivered while maintaining a safe social distance. “This is such a rewarding project that we do each year. We received many heartfelt ‘Thank you's’.” Jodi continued. “Together the employees and NYCM have made a difference”.

Christmas Cares

The Sherburne Christmas Cares Project looks to provide Christmas joy to children and their families in our communities. This program began in the early 1990’s to support local Catholic Charities in aiding domestic abuse victims. Since then, it has contributed to the Area Council of Churches, Sherburne-Earlville Christmas Drive, as well as the Unadilla Valley School's Christmas Project.  


Preparations for the holiday season begin early each year. Generally, the program would hold themed fundraisers throughout the entire year to encourage participation. Chili cook-offs, taco days, and basket raffles are just a few of the events thrown to raise donations. “That money has always been generously matched by NYCM,” recalled program leader, Kathy Wagner of our Special Investigations.  Each entity provides the program with a list of children that includes what they are in need of and what they might want as a Christmas surprise. The volunteers then begin shopping and wrapping. Families are also provided with gift cards to shop for Christmas dinner. 


This initiative wouldn’t be successful without the volunteers of our Sherburne office. Between organizing events, contributing funds, wrapping gifts, donating goods, and donating cans and bottles, everyone at our Sherburne location plays a huge part! Even the returnables from the office bin go toward the cause!  The Christmas Cares Planning Committee is composed of several employees, and you can join in too!  You can bring your returnables to the Village Can and Bottle, located at 4 Canal St. in Sherburne, NY, where an account is set up under "NYCM Insurance Christmas Cares."


Despite facing the challenges of COVID-19 and without the ability for traditional fundraisers to run, the Sherburne Christmas Cares Project was able to anonymously provide 43 children and their families with a way to celebrate Christmas this year that they might not have had otherwise. 


“It means the world to me personally. I have spent the last 20-some-years involved in this project in one way or another and it makes me feel very good to have brought a bit of happiness to a whole bunch of children. Myself and my family have been very blessed, so we try to give back in any small way we can,” said Kathy. “Our inspiration has always been how grateful we are as employees to be able to give back to our communities. I am going to speak for everyone in the branch here - we are dedicated to this project and every single one of us has done something to support it.  That is the magic.”

Teaming Up With The Central New York Veteran's Outreach Center


The NYCM Casualty department has been working with the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center, located in Utica, NY, for the last year and a half. In partnership with other local companies, the group was able to donate several truckloads full of essential items, such as food, clothing, and furniture. In the process of doing so, strong relationships have been formed with our local veterans. 


This year, a Christmas tree has been decorated in their honor at our Edmeston office and each of the 33 veterans have been sponsored for the holiday season. “It is amazing to see how this has evolved into so much more.” said NYCM senior casualty examiner, Amy Deforest. “People outside of the casualty department, like claims, finance, underwriting and even people outside of NYCM have donated to help our veterans.” 

When asked what they wanted for Christmas, many humbly requested items to keep themselves warm: hats, gloves, and scarfs. Of course, the requests have been filled. In addition, Team NYCM was able to take it one step further and create a personal experience for each Veteran.  One of our veterans suffers from PTSD and has a service animal, so we were able to include cat toys and food for his feline friend.” Amy explained.  “There are two veterans who happen to be very talented artists and will be surprised on Christmas morning with art sets that have been donated by Golden Artist Colors. A family that has fallen on hard times and now lives in the facility will get to surprise their young son with a set of Legos that he’s been coveting. He and his family will also be surprised with children’s books, games, and much more!”

“COVID-19 may have changed the way we have to do things this year, but clearly is no match for our Christmas spirit,” said Amy, when asked how the pandemic has affected the program. 

When we are able to gather again, the team looks forward to having a local barbecue with the upstanding men and women who have fought and served our country.

Giving Back Through Mitscoots for the Second Year!

In the spirit of giving back, NYCM has decided to partner with Mitscoots Outfitters again! This year, NYCM employees were gifted with a voucher to be used at, who will be matching each purchase with an item of equal quality to go to someone in need!  


Mitscoots Outfitters, based in Austin, Texas, who makes 100% American-sourced and manufactured gear, is dedicated to providing items of clothing to those in need and jobs for those who have been displaced. 


According to the company website, inspiration for the business model struck while volunteering in their local community. Alongside food and water there was a constant need for basics, such as clean socks. “It was such a simple thing that is often taken for granted by most of us.” Employee referrals come from local shelters and placement agencies. Rotational employees are paid per pair of socks packaged, which gives them the opportunity to work at their own pace and have more control over their schedules and incomes. Mitscoots states that this always results in well over minimum wage. 


“Our goal at Mitscoots is to create a system where individuals can make a fair wage and be a part of something bigger.” 


To learn more about Mitscoots and their mission, click the link below!