Every year, Weingarten Realty associates unite together to help fellow community members by holding a fundraising campaign to benefit United Way. The company’s annual goal of $150,000 is donated to local United Way organizations in each city where there is a regional Weingarten office. Those communities have been supportive of Weingarten Realty’s retail centers year after year, and in response, the company wants to give back.
Associates at Weingarten’s Houston headquarters convened outside on a beautiful day in celebration of this year’s campaign. After a lunch catered by Demeris BBQ, associates learned about just some of the great things United Way does in their community, from helping children learn to read to advising families on how to financially plan for the future to providing necessary provisions for the elderly and the homeless.
Oscar Newton, a long-time supporter, spoke passionately about his experience with United Way and the positive effects he’s seen it have on local Houstonians. His jokes elicited boisterous laughter and his powerful words about bringing hope to those who are struggling at times moved the crowd to tears. Oscar pointed out that while many children are born into families who are able to provide the building blocks needed in life to be successful, many others are not. He likened this to baseball, describing the fortunate as being born already on second base, while others are not even in the ball park, reminding associates that United Way is there to help everyone reach their fullest potential and give hope to those who are struggling.
After lunch, associates broke into teams to play collaborative strategy games based on the popular reality show “Survivor.” The games became progressively harder with teams being eliminated after each round. First, teams began by moving 2x4s through a figure eight pattern without stepping off their boards. Next, they had to work together to knot a 50 foot rope, then untie an opposing team’s rope as fast as possible. The five-member teams then had to build a five-and-a-half foot tower out of wooden blocks without it toppling over. The penultimate game had each player maneuvering an egg through a maze on a chicken wire frame. Finally, with only two teams left, competitors moved on to play in the finale. They raced to find rocks hidden in buckets of sand, answered trivia questions written on the rocks, then completed a puzzle.
While the afternoon’s activities focused on fun and games, we remember that there are people in our communities struggling with things like getting an education, providing food for their children and caring for elderly family members. Through the company’s donations and the support of various United Way organizations, they will be able to realize the same successes the associates of Weingarten Realty have seen.