Companies can give the gift of Christmas, too

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - When it comes to helping a family in need, the trade doesn't only exist between families. Companies have had a hand in giving the gift of Christmas through Families Helping Families, too.

Shirley Botzis is a travel agent for Abbott and Hill Travel Agency. The{} company has been a FHF partner for at least 15 years.

"It was back in the early 90s and we were doing things like Crisis ministries, Food Bank and as our company grew we felt like we needed to do something else for the community," said Botzis.

Botzis heard about Families Helping Families and decided to get her co-workers involved.

"I went out the girls and I said, 'We've got a project. We've got Families Helping Families. How many people want to do it?' Hands went up immediately," she said.

The willingness to give spread like holiday fever.

"When you can give to somebody whose parents are not able to give them the things that they need and want, it just make you feel warm all over," said Susan Altman, a travel consultant who has been a part of the project for 20 years.

"I would say a majority of the families are single parents, whether it be a mother, mostly mothers with young children," Altman said. "This year we have a mother with four children. And, we asked for that. We like to be able to do as much as we can."

The workers at Abbott and Hill shop for their adopted family as if they were truly related.

"Even though you only know their first names, you know their age and you know their likes and their dislikes and you know with what you've purchased, you're going to make somebody very, very happy," Botzis said.

"We always give books because we think that reading is so very important for everyone," said Altman. "I like candy, so I always make sure that they have candy."

Altman says she hopes families understand the thought behind the gift and are motivated to give back.

"I hope that they feel the love that we are sending. But, I also hope that they will know that we are doing this because we want to and hopefully someday when they grow up, they will be able to do it for someone else," she said.

Botzis hopes companies just like hers join in the movement.

"You just try it one time, you would feel, its a wonderful feeling. And, you couldn't wait to do it again," she said.

There are three different ways you can help. Sponsor a family, make a donation or become a corporate sponsor.

To learn more, head to Palmetto Projects web site at{}You can also call 843-724-7100.

Donate online by clicking HERE