Chanel Bellotto is the owner of Skate World, one of Florida’s most well known and loved roller skating rinks. When she visited Southeastern Skate in Georgia for the annual expo, we started talking about business, company culture, and giving back. She told me about a special organization located in Florida called kidsPACK, which she has been supporting with her family and church. Her insight about giving back through her business and building a better future by serving with her team is worth sharing with other FEC’s, so I put together a few Q&A’s with Chanel in hopes that it inspires others.
Learn more about kidsPACK and serving with your team
Q: Tell us what initially attracted you to kidsPACK. What made you want to be involved?
A: Skate World caters to children and families, which also holds a special place in my heart now that I’m a mom. I believe God put me in this place at this time to serve others. kidsPACK is a well-oiled machine that runs smoothly with a small administration so it has minimal operating costs. Almost all money donated goes to feeding hungry children and there’s a great need in our community and the state. Over 70,000 children are registered as homeless. How can we let this happen to our children? We’ve got to help… and it takes a village!
Q: What is the big problem that kidsPACK and its volunteers are trying to solve? How has kidsPACK and its volunteers impacted your local community?
A: The problem we are helping solve is hunger. Working with local community volunteers, we are able to pack food for children to take into their homes and serve as sustenance when they are not at school.
The benefits are long-lasting. Hunger has a direct link to a child’s ability to learn as well as health.
Studies show that nourished children experience:
- Less anxiety
- Reduced absenteeism
- Improved attention span
- Higher academic performance
- Increased self esteem
Whether a child is living out of a car, with a relative, or in a hotel – kidsPACK serves to help make sure that no child goes hungry.
Q: When I first reached out to you about kidsPACK, it was because you had mentioned how your team at Skate World was becoming involved too. Why do you think your staff wants to help?
A: It takes just one person to make a difference, but our team realizes that we can make an even bigger difference. Some of my staff may have been in these same situations when they were younger or might have a friend! These aren’t the children that come to Skate World, because they don’t have money to eat, buy clothes, and have a decent shower.
Q: What kind of work does your team do to help kidsPACK?
A: Once a month, we meet at my church, which happens to be one of the many packing sites in our community. To become a packing site, you have to donate $15,000 a year. This amount of money isn’t in my budget, however our time is just as valuable. We pack meals for the weekend for over 1200 kids.
Q: Have you noticed anything about your company culture or morale within the team because you donate your time together?
A: I wouldn’t be honest if I said yes, but we are working on that. You have to keep it in perspective. My staff consists of 16-20 year old’s and if you can think back to that age….what were your priorities? I can honestly say it wasn’t donating my time. I am trying to instill a culture in them, to help them recognize that they can make a difference, even if they don’t donate a dime of actual money. What I’m trying to do for my staff will take time, but the impact we are making by helping these children is NOW!
Q: Do you have any advice to entertainment center owners that are interested in giving back to their own community and encouraging team involvement as well?
A: Absolutely! I believe that you do unto others as you would have done to you. This is something that will help your staff and your business. In addition, YOU will be blessed in many ways. If you can’t afford to make a monetary donation, then you can certainly make time to help someone in need. It’s not hard to find, just call your local United Way Organization, and they can help get you started. Or go to a local church and see what they need help with. I challenge you to find an organization in your community that needs your help! Together WE can make a difference!
Want to help kidsPACK? You can donate online!
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