Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Giving Tree Realty helps military families this holiday season

How is your small business getting into the holiday spirit this season? Share your stories for a profile in a future blog post. Contact me at cesmith@charlotteobserver.com.

Giving back to the community has been Giving Tree Realty's priority since the Charlotte real estate firm opened in 2010, according to Broker-in-Charge Bruce Bleiman. There's a sign in the East Boulevard office with the firm's tree logo and the tagline, "REALTORS with roots in community causes."

This holiday season, the firm has launched a "Toys For Our Troops" effort to help children in military families facing hardships this season.

It started off last Wednesday with the realty's team hosting 230 military children at Discovery Place for a showing of "The Polar Express."

(Photos by Gene Lazo and William Culp.)

The children met Sir Purr of the Panthers, Rufus of the Bobcats, and the jolly big guy himself.

Next up is Christmas Eve, when the company team will deliver gifts and a holiday meal to the children of three military families who lost a parent in Afghanistan or Iraq.

And continuing through Dec. 31 is a toy drive being held on behalf of Operation Homefront of the Carolinas. Bleiman said the firm is asking the public for donations of gently used or new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls of all ages. Gifts received after Christmas will be saved for next year's event. Drop off gifts during business hours at the Giving Tree Realty office at 1819 East Blvd. Find more information at http://www.givingtreerealty.com/ToysForOurTroops.

Giving Tree Realty credits Military Family Lifestyle Charitable Foundation, The Patriot Charities, Hendrick Automotive Group, HendrickCars.Com, Edifice, First Choice Loan Services and Ameritrust for helping and/or donating to its holiday efforts.

Bleiman said all types of gifts are welcome for the toy drive -- tricycles, box games, crayons, books, There's a storage space on the office property that's designated for toys, and he hopes public donations fill the space "from top to bottom."

Watch this video to hear Bleiman talk more about the program: