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I know what it is like to go through a Christmas with nothing. I know what it is like to have lost one’s home and rely on the charity of others.
My father went through a very difficult period during the early 1990s. He recovered and ended up building a very successful law practice later in life, but the memories of waking up on Christmas morning with nothing and living in a home that was not our own will never be forgotten by me.
The charity of others in my own life as a teenager motivated me to get involved in a charity during college called “Sub For Santa”.
The idea is very simple: provide Christmas joy to people going through a difficult time. My family and I moved to Brazil nearly a decade ago and while the same program doesn’t operate in Brazil, we have individually (and last year, as a company) provided presents and food to families.
But this year, we want to make a huge difference.
My wife is on the global advisory board of a charity called the BrazilFoundation, and through them we met Alan Duarte, who runs an NGO called Abraço Campeão. Brazil Journal has written about Alan recently. He is a true fighter for change in his community, and indeed, throughout Brazil.
Alan tells me that many families have suffered in his community during the recession and that this year has been particularly difficult. Through Abraço Campeão, we want to bring a massive effort to provide Christmas for these families.
Our goal is to bring Christmas presents and basic food items to over 100 families in need in the Complexo do Alemão community here in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil Journal readers include some of the most important individuals and leaders in Brazil, from CEOs to heads of investment firms and beyond. You can make an enormous difference for people through this simple act of kindness.
We ask you help us in any way you can. If you run a retail clothing company, do you have overstock you can donate? Or, if you have a food business with inventory of basic food items, can you donate?
For other readers, perhaps you and your colleagues can put together an effort to collect food items, toys and clothing during the next two weeks?
Our privilege demands responsibility.
My firm has offices in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and will use those as collection sites. We will organize the donations for delivery to the gymnasium used by Abraço Campeão on December 19. From there, presents will be distributed to the families in need.
Any monetary donations can be made directly to Abraço Campeão (this is how).
If you are so kind as to donate items such as presents and food, please contact us using the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Clothing, toys, etc., should be new and not used.
We will help coordinate delivery of items in both Rio and Sao Paulo. If you available to help sort and organize for delivery, please indicate as such to the same email address.
I learned from my own personal experience as a teenager nearly 30 years ago how small acts of kindness can change a person forever. It gave me the motivation to be in a position to hopefully help others. We will never know what impact we have on those who are in need and may similarly feel inspired to dedicate their lives to success and the charity of others.
We hope you can help this year and make this a new tradition in years to come.
James Gulbrandsen is a founding partner and CIO of NCH Capital Brasil.