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“Imagine a world. Where people look out for each other. Where we all pay it forward. Where success is measured in selfless acts. Where kindness is the philosophy of life.” That is the motto of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which sponsored “RAK Week” from February 14-20 this year. To celebrate this unofficial holiday, Merritt Group decided to spread the kindness through various office activities during the week.

As a happy little coincidence to start the week, Monday, February 15th was a holiday so the office was closed! Then, our week was cut even shorter when the VA winter weather afforded us a telecommute day on Tuesday. We made up for it the rest of the week though and on Wednesday, we had an “Old School Valentine’s Day” where employees were encouraged to bring in valentines to share with their co-workers.

Homemade goodies, lots of candy and even Baked and Wired cupcakes overflowed the office and were delivered to our desks via crafty bags we decorated as our “mailboxes.” Our San Francisco office got in on the fun too and even sent the VA office temporary tattoos, which I think went over quite well here in VA. The San Francisco team celebrated with fresh flowers on their desks and soy candles courtesy of Merritt Group.

Employees were also asked to share the kindness outside of the office with RAK ideas printed and hung in the office by our amazing Creative Services team. Simple to more elaborate ideas such as “give someone an unsolicited compliment,” “write a letter of appreciation to someone who positively influenced you,” and “give a very generous tip to your server” were posted to remind us all of how we can positively impact the world around us.

We also held a food drive to donate to Food for Others, a food pantry based in Merrifield, VA that distributes free food to families in need in the local area. Food for Others has a warehouse distribution center, and also delivers supplemental food to approximately 395 families each night in low-income neighborhoods. They also sponsor the Power Pack Program (P3) to provide elementary-school children who receive reduced-cost and free lunches at school with a food pack to take home for the weekend.

As one of our core values, Merritt Group is focused on giving back to our community. We regularly do in- and out-of-office activities – such as our Merry Week of Giving over the holidays – to help those in need and support causes that are near and dear to our hearts. This is just one of the many reasons Merritt Group is a great place to work! But don’t take it from me, here are a few examples of what employees love about Merritt Group and our commitment to helping others…

“I’ve been at Merritt Group for over 10 years and what keeps me here is the people. I’ve never worked with such a generous group of individuals who don’t just care about me, but also their co-workers and the larger community.” – Melissa Chadwick

“I loved being a part of the planning team for our Merry Week of Giving! It was so much fun to work with these organizations and focus some of our time on giving back to our local community. I particularly loved working with the kids, but the whole week was great and such a success. Can’t wait to do it again next year!” – Julia McGavran

“Working at a company that emphasizes giving back is one of the many reasons why I value working for Merritt Group. Merritt Group, from the top down, feels like working for a family. As an employee I feel valued, encouraged, and challenged everyday I’m here. Giving back to the community is one data point on that family spectrum – we care about more than just our to-do list. We care about each other and our communities.” – Suzanne Block

“Merritt Group blows me away with its generosity. To honor the memory of Patty Groce, former VP of Human Relations and long-time Merritt Grouper, the company started an annual award for a charity nominated by employees. I was humbled and honored to nominate Three Roots International, a nonprofit very near and dear to my heart that is working to bring families in Ethiopia out of poverty. The donation is supporting health, education, and income-generation for some of the most vulnerable members of a community, and giving families hope for a brighter future. On behalf of Three Roots, we are truly thankful for the gift and for the generosity of Merritt Group and Patty’s family!” – Lindsey Baine

“During our Merry Week of Giving, I helped with food preparation at Martha’s Table that provides meals to the homeless and less fortunate. I never had a better time chopping onions for two hours. It was a great chance to chat with coworkers outside of the office and the volunteers at Martha’s Table were so appreciative. They were thanking us as we were thanking them! I plan to volunteer there again.” -Sean O’Leary

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