I write monthly articles for Alive East Bay Magazine. My goal is to provide positive information, resources and hope for special needs awareness and inclusion. I hope you enjoy December’s edition. ❤
Just as holidays can be misrepresented as a time to buy expensive gifts out of obligation, the season can also be a time where we get to see the best in people through their actions. Whether it is individuals, businesses, or organizations, a sense of hope and inclusion is provided to others through compassionate, kind effort. It is a way to let others know, whether we know them or not, that they are not forgotten.
The collaboration of Bay Alarm Company and Toys for Tots is a perfect example of such compassion.
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” is a quote that says to help when you have the resources to do so, especially if you have an overflow of those resources. Mary Smith is one person who provides new meaning to this quote, who gives without expecting anything in return. It is the pure joy of giving to others just to see the smiles on children’s faces and the display of relief and gratitude from the families. Remembering the experiences in her life when there were struggles, Mary Smith made it a part of her personal day to day life to help others through volunteering or giving gifts to those in need.
In 1986, she extended her fundraising activities to Toys for Tots and eventually through her employer, Bay Alarm. Bay Alarm began generously matching the funds raised at 100%, doubling the financial ability to provide gifts for families that struggle all year long to make ends meet, let alone obtain extra provisions during a holiday. It was in 2016 that Mary’s fundraising at work reached the highest earnings of $35,000.00 with all of it used to purchase gifts and care packages for the Toys for Tots families. Whether it was families in foster care, those struggling with addiction, or individuals with medical challenges, it was through her 30+ years of devotion to giving to others that still reminds the world that it takes a village.
In 2019, Mary Smith retired from Bay Alarm. At her retirement celebration she was surprised with an honorary gift—a dedication award from Bay Alarm that included the new title of the fundraising efforts to be named “Mary Smith Toys for Tots.” Just as their logo says, “What Have You Got to Lose?”, her employer showed its gratitude because when a village practices unconditional giving, that village has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Even though people may retire from jobs, people never retire from having a heart to compassionately give others a moment of joy just when they need it the most. As the torch is passed for other kind-hearted Bay Alarm employees to maintain the momentum of giving, may the same selfless energy of these individuals carry on infinitely.
That’s what the season is meant to represent—when we give it our all with a focus to benefit others, we never lose. We gain memories and set the paths that last for generations. Bay Alarm, Toys for Tots, and Mary Smith are reminders of what really counts in life; not the measurable and tangible, but the immeasurable and intangible. May we all stay on a path to deliver hope from the heart, not just during the holidays, but every day.
For more information on how you can give to those in need, please visit:
For more information about Bay Alarm’s community support, please visit: