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From Letterkenny to Prague and points in between, our European offices found a variety of ways to support charitable causes, big and small, and make good use of their fully paid volunteer days throughout the year.

September was an exceptionally busy VIVA month at our Letterkenny office. Fourteen SITA staff took part in a volunteer supermarket bag pack for Aware, a national charity providing support and education around depression and mental health. A total of US$1,486 was raised. In the same month, 26 employees gave their energies to a charity car wash, raising US$463 in aid of Donegal Mountain Rescue, a voluntary frontline emergency service serving nearby Glenveagh National Park.

Also in September, SITA Letterkenny held a special “Jersey Day” event in aid of the “Mammy, I Want to Walk” fund. The charity supports a local five year-old boy who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and benefited from US$1,275 raised at the event. In November SITA Letterkenny held a Retro Gaming Night to raise funds once again for the same charity. Young and old relived their past on consoles such as the Nintendo 64, SNES, Atari, Spectrum, PlayStation, SEGA and many more, competing to win prizes and raising an additional US$2,600.

On a grey March day, 11 SITA London Godalming volunteers spent a hands-on day clearing wood and pasture areas at Mane Chance Horse Sanctuary, a rescue and rehabilitation center in Surrey. A second team returned in May to work on the buildings and help the charity get ready for an open day and fundraiser later in the year.

In early July London staff based at the Heathrow Compass Centre helped out at the Hillingdon Narrowboats Association, a charity that provides boating experience and qualifications for disadvantaged young people and others in the community. The SITA volunteers completely refurbished the charity’s office space over three days of cleaning, painting, carpet fitting, and installing furniture, cabling and equipment.

In July burgers, ice cream, cupcakes, games, prizes, a raffle and great live music were all on the menu at SITA London’s annual summer BBQ and fete. A great time was had by all, and nearly US$2,400 was raised for childhood cancer research charity, Christopher’s Smile. Another annual event took place in August when SITA London once again welcomed a group of local young people from the Challenge Network, a summer program that helps teens build confidence and gain experience of the real world of professional work.

Each autumn UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support holds its biggest fundraising event, “The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”, to raise money for people living with cancer. In 2014, SITA London staff were involved in no less than four separate coffee mornings at our various locations, helping to raise a combined total of just over US$4,500 for the cause. In parallel, our office in Hayes, London held a week-long collection drive for the Hillingdon Foodbank, raising a donation of US$145 in cash plus several crates of non-perishable food.

A London team of 14 made a day of it at Minet Country Park in Hayes on behalf of the local Wildlife Trust on a sunny day in November, helping to the improve the wildlife habitat by clearing overgrown vegetation. Also in November, teams and individuals from all over SITA joined in the 2014 Movember campaign, the month-long charity event for male cancers and mental health. Of special note were seven men at SITA London who took on a challenge from a neighboring office and generated US$1,951 for the cause.

In September, 14 women from our Paris office participated in “La Parisienne”, a 7K race for Breast Cancer Awareness, raising a total of US$2,420. In October volunteers from our Paris office supported a theatre night which brought in US$5,000 for the charity “La Cami sport et cancer” which offers sports programs to people living with and recovering from cancer.

In early April, 16 of our SITA Frankfurt staff participated in a volunteer day out with forestry management organization Hessen-Forst, helping to support the preservation and re-forestation of woods in the nearby Taunus mountain range. A team of 13 volunteers from VIVA Switzerland participated in its second “Le Partage” event in December, spending a half-day supporting the organization’s work sorting donations of food and other necessities for distribution to local charities.

After a successful launch in 2013, another helping of SITA Spaghetti Bolognese was served at the Jardin Montbrillant ‘restaurant for the needy’ in Geneva in December 2014. Our employees donated the ingredients and funding required for the meal which a team of seven SITA staff volunteers then prepared for some 150 guests. Also in December Geneva staff organized a campaign to collect toys and clothing for two local associations, Piccolo and Solidarité Femmes Genève, organizations which serve the Canton de Geneve by helping mothers in difficult situations including domestic violence, homelessness, and human trafficking.

A group from SITA Malta got soaked for charity with the ALS ice bucket challenge in August, raising US$270 for a local charity that helps those affected with the disease. In December our Rome office delivered a huge amount of toys to Community of Sant’Egidio for ‘Rigiocattolo’. Through this initiative thousands of toys – many made of plastic and other often unrecycled materials – are collected in schools and neighborhoods and given a second home.

In addition to supporting organized charitable causes, sometimes SITA staff are moved to action closer to home. Josef was sleeping at the metro station close our Prague office. A group of SITA staff started to converse with him and began fundraising and organizing other direct help from colleagues in the office. As of March 2014, Josef had his own apartment and a full-time job as a security guard thanks to direct help from our staff.

In November, the SITA Prague Compliance team took a volunteer day out to support Raná péce EDA, a non-profit organization helping families with visually disabled children, raising US$140 and spending a full day on site helping to repair and organize the charity’s premises.

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