The Combined Federal Campaign celebrates its 56th year of federal workplace charitable giving, and every year, federal employees dig deep in their pockets to give to those in need all over the world.
This year’s campaign, “Show Some Love,” continues that commitment to giving by providing people an opportunity to make positive changes through donations from Oct. 16 – Dec. 15. The CFC-Overseas season kicks off in Rheinland-Pfalz with its fourth annual Army vs. Air Force CFC-O Bubble Soccer Match, at 1:30 p.m., Oct. 16, at Vogelweh Fitness Center Soccer Field. People can show some love for CFC and root for their favorite team.
“CFC allows you to donate to multiple charities at once, and if you want to remain anonymous, donating through the CFC is the easiest way to do that,” said Melissa Malakos, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Kaiserslautern CFC-O Community Area Project officer. “Supporting those causes that are important to you is a great way to voice your opinion and support change.”
Her involvement in CFC began in 1999, when Malakos began federal service. Eighteen years later, she has become more involved in the program and witnessed CFC evolve and grow.
“Several changes were made to this year’s campaign. The most exciting change for me is the ability to pledge volunteer hours as well as funds. If a charity indicated they would like to receive volunteer support, donors can pledge the hours they plan to volunteer for the upcoming year. Here overseas, there are charities that welcome volunteers,” said Malakos, a native of Dilltown, Pennsylvania. “Also, if you know you will be heading back to the States next year, it’s a chance to let your chosen charity know that you will be available to support them.”
Volunteering at local charities can provide useful work experience, helps people network and can instill pride, loyalty and engagement with these organizations, she added. The total number of volunteer hours and its monetary value can be shared with these agencies at the conclusion of the campaign, although they aren’t counted toward agency goals. Charities accepting volunteers will be marked with an identifying symbol.
Another change is a centralized Giving Portal where people can securely make their pledges online in November. The one-stop, user-friendly donation system includes state-of-the-art security standards to safeguard personal information, making contributions only a click away next month.
Jim Gillis, Baumholder CFC-O Community Area Project officer, has been involved with CFC for more than 20 years, and said people can contribute by “volunteering time or money to a favorite locally-listed, stateside or international charity from around the globe.”
According to cfcoverseas.org, federal employees have the opportunity to give to any participating CFC charity, not just the local charities in their CFC zone. This option to support thousands of organizations allows donors to give to causes like health care, medical research, disaster relief, housing, youth development and more, regardless of geographic location.
“This program is an opportunity to link our Baumholder community with some great charities, and in the process, educate the next generation of CFC leaders,” Gillis said.
Malakos agreed with Gillis and said, “Aside from the charities that receive the support provided, I think it helps to spread good will through the community. There is a good feeling that comes with donating and that gets passed on as well.”
This year, CFC no longer accepts cash donations and units can no longer hold CFC fundraisers like bake sales or car washes, but that won’t hamper people’s spirit of giving, Gillis said. “People will choose organizations they can relate to and give from the heart,” said Gillis from South Bend, Indiana.
Gillis grew up on a dairy farm and spent his youth milking and caring for cows as a part of his daily chores. In school, he was also involved in the 4-H Club, where he raised heifers for showing.
“When I gave to CFC for the first time, I studied the charities list and found one that I connected with that provided calves to communities in third-world countries,” he said. “ I thought this would be the best charity for me because I know how hard farming is firsthand. I know these communities can raise the animals to help farm the land and provide milk. I donate to this charity every year because it means a lot to me.”
He shares his CFC story with people as an icebreaker to get people thinking and talking about charitable organizations they can connect with.
“CFC has thousands of charities to choose from. What charity means something to you? What is your CFC story going to be?” he asked.
For more information, call Malakos (Kaiserslautern) at 541-4702 or at 0611-143-541-4702 or Gillis (Baumholder) at 531-3008 or at 06111-43531-3008.
To make CFC-O contributions or learn more, visit http://cfcoverseas.org/.