By Kelly Burns
here is no shortage of companies that talk about giving back to the community, but it’s a smaller margin of companies that will put those words into action. Every May since 2009, Keller Williams Realty employees around the world have closed their offices for a day and gone out into their communities for a day of service, called RED Day. The purpose of RED Day – commemorated each year with employees wearing red shirts – is to give back to the community with three goals in mind: renew, energize, and donate. This year’s RED Day takes place on May 12.
The choice of organizations to receive the benefits of the 2022 event came about in a personal way for members of the local Keller Williams’ RED Day committee, said Chris Holloway, a Keller Williams agent and this year’s committee chair. “We got together and three of us realized that we had each been the recipients of care of Ochsner Health’s pediatric ICU unit,” he said. “Each one of our children had had a similar situation, and we were all so grateful for the care that we received from Ochsner. So we thought, let’s help Ochsner this year.” As they developed the idea further, though, the logistical flaws were clear. “Obviously with COVID restrictions, we can’t have 200 agents show up in the pediatric ICU and say, what can we do?” Holloway said. “So we decided to stay with the theme of helping children and see what other organizations need our help.”
Unlike previous years where one recipient has been selected, several organizations will benefit from RED Day’s volunteer efforts in 2022, including David Raines Community Health Center, Every Warrior Network, and Lauves Pediatric Day Health Care. How the volunteers will be helping will depend on the protocols of the organization being helped. “Everyone has their own guidelines and restrictions, but one thing we know for sure that we’re going to do is put together care packages, or what we’re calling blessing bags,” Holloway said. “Volunteers will come to the office and basically create an assembly line where we’ll be assembling these bags. They’ll be tailored to that organization and what their needs are. Then we’ll head out in different directions and deliver these bags to these organizations, so they can have them to give to the children who are in need, be it somebody in pediatric intensive care or a homeless shelter.”
Organizations that have been helped by RED Day volunteers in prior years include Shriners Hospitals for Children, Heart of Hope, Shreveport Green, and the Pioneer Heritage Center. Holloway, who has volunteered every RED Day since 2011, believes that the day of community service makes an impact locally and around the world. If all the approximately 188,000 worldwide Keller Williams’ employees participate, the contributions to local communities could be substantial. Vendors and affiliates of the company participate as well, sometimes with volunteer efforts and sometimes monetarily. “We’ve got about 250 agents here locally and we’re going to try to get a hundred percent participation,” Holloway said. “It’s a great thing to be part of something larger than yourself, and I think we’re going to make a big impact this year.”