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Two Charities for Helping Homeless & Hungry, Captivate First Team Executives

February 1, 2011

A smart, innovative way to help the homeless quickly and effectively was so impressive to some First Team Real Estate executives that they are now singing the praises of the two charitable organizations, Skip1 and Invisible People. The two organizations hosted a joint event, whose concept they say spiritually motivates the givers as much as it materially benefits the homeless.

On Sunday, Dec. 12, Rick Chichester, First Team Real Estate’s Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Berman, manager of the Anaheim Hills office, and Bob Watson, manager of San Clemente office, joined about 150 other charity-minded volunteers at the “SkipDay” event in Ventura, sponsored by First Team, BrandTailors, and American Vision Windows. The purpose of the event was to pack 300 “GLove” bags for random distribution to homeless people.

The GLove bags, sized to fit in a typical car’s glove compartment or center console, are stocked with two pairs of socks, a rain poncho, bus tokens, meal vouchers, nail clippers, sunscreen, and other useful items. When the car’s driver sees a homeless person, it’s easy to quickly grab the GLove bag and hand it out.

“Most of us know the helpless feeling of seeing the homeless, slipping them few dollars, and moving on wishing we could have done more. Or, worse, sometimes we’re tempted to look past a homeless person, as if he or she was invisible,” said Chichester. “A wonderful thing about the GLove bags is that they allow you see and recognize the homeless as individuals. You strike up conversations, trade a few words. It makes it up-close and personal.”

The GLove bag concept fits perfectly in the context of Invisible People, a Hollywood-based charity committed to raising awareness of homelessness by using video interviews with homeless people “to make the invisible visible,” according to its website, InvisiblePeople.tv.

The other charity involved in the event, Skip1, is also Hollywood-based; its website, skip1.org, encourages people to skip a treat of some sort, be it a cup of coffee or a night at the theater, and use the money to feed the hungry instead.

“I gave up my 2-hour hike and my one day of relaxing from a six-day workweek in order to attend the SkipDay event,” said Berman. “I’d do it every Sunday if necessary to help Skip1 – I hope everyone can find at least one thing to skip today to help children in desperate need. I encourage everyone to visit their website and get involved.”

“My wife, Kathy and I skipped a holiday party to attend the Skip1 event,” said Watson. “Our agents in San Clemente skipped a catered holiday party and had a potluck instead. In lieu of spending money on gifts for each other, agents brought items such as blankets, socks, and clothing for Path Achieve – an organization committed to ending homelessness in Glendale, CA. Mark, who is a social media friend & Outreach Case Manager, also created InvisiblePeople.org where he captures the stories of homeless all over North America. Funds donated through InvisiblePeople.org help support Mark’s commitment in Glendale. The concept of ‘skipping’ something to donate to the homeless and the hungry is a very powerful motivator.”

Chichester, who attended the event with his wife, said Sunday is usually “a time for personal recreation and relaxation.”  He skipped a bike ride and a workout at the gym “to spend time with others who really care for the less fortunate. It was a time of recreation for my heart and soul.”

For more information about Skip1, visit www.skip1.org. You can learn more about Invisible People at www.InvisiblePeople.tv. For more information about First Team Real Estate, visit www.firstteam.com.

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