At MediaSmack, we love to give back. In fact, if someone on our team has a 501c3 nonprofit that he/she is passionate about, MediaSmack matches the donation, both in money and time. We support organizations that have a positive impact on our communities. While it is one thing to talk about it, here are some of the stories of how our staff contributes to the cause of helping others right here in our local communities.
Zach Thompson Being Active in His Community
Outside of work, MediaSmack CEO and co-founder Zach Thompson is very active in his community. He is an elected member of the Sanger Independent School District Board of Trustees. Currently, he is serving a three-year term from 2020 to 2023. As a board trustee, he helps make important decisions about district changes that affect more than 2,600 students in the area, such as curriculum changes and COVID-19 protocols.
Zach is also the Vice President of Sanger Youth Sports, an organization dedicated to helping local youth excel in sports and other activities. He is an avid coach for local youth, and coaches boys and girls basketball, football and track. Depending on the season, he may coach up to three or four teams at once!
When we asked him about his community, Zach said, “I grew up in a small town, Ripon, California, and Sanger is similar to Ripon – community is everything. I love coaching and being a role model for the youth of America. It allows me to help kids during the rocky roads of growth and spend extra time with my own children. It also teaches my kids that it’s about others, not just you. I’m Christian, and to me, faith without works is nothing. Giving back to my community just fills me up.”
Amanda Snowden and Family Helping Families Have a Merry Holiday Season
Nashville Giving Tree is another charity we support! As a mom, it’s a charity that Amanda Snowden can really relate to. Her family supports it every year by buying trees and wreaths from them. Its purpose is to help single moms during the holiday season.
However, given the east coast drought this year, they switched it to a craft project for kids (https://nashvillegivingtree.com/item/2020-tree/). Below is a picture of the one that Amanda’s son created with his school pod.
“We made sure to explain to him how we were supporting local families by also giving him something fun to do. He really enjoyed presenting his tree to us at dinner.” —Amanda Snowden
This is an email explaining the switch to wooden trees this year for crafting:
We have partnered with Maple Built, a non-profit that provides woodworking apprenticeships that employees, trains, and mentors young men in low-income communities here in Nashville to create the wooded Nashville Giving Trees. When you purchase one of these wooden Giving Tree sets, 100% of the net proceeds go to help true, vetted, struggling single moms put food on their table and presents under their tree. You can purchase yours today at www.NashvilleGivingTree.com.
Kellen Wilson and Family Add a Furry Member to Their Home
Earlier in 2020, Kellen Wilson’s family lost a precious member of their family to liver disease. Jett was a border collie mix and a good boy who enjoyed fetch, walks and adventures. He was adopted by Kellen’s brother Jaron from the San Antonio Humane Society over seven years ago. Keeping in that spirit, the Wilsons decided that their next pup would also be a rescue.
Working with Austin Pets Alive! Kellen and his wife Victoria were able to find and welcome a sweet new boy into the family. Bose is an extra special yet shy boy who loves to dig; runs really, really fast; and chews on nice bones. He fits in perfectly with his new home, and Bose was actually from Kellen’s hometown before APA! took him in.
But just because Bose found his forever home doesn’t mean the Wilson family has given up on helping other Texas pets that need adoption. Kellen and his family have also donated money to APA! as well as Austin Wildlife Rescue. AWR is an organization the Wilson family has supported ever since Kellen found an injured cooper’s hawk and AWR helped nurse it back to health!
Amanda Snowden and Family Helping Homeless Pets Find a Forever Home
Families all across the country have pets that they love and dote on. However, circumstances can leave some of these furry critters without a home or loving family. This is where the Nashville Humane Association and Amanda Snowden’s family step in to help.
The Nashville Humane Association helps find homes for lost or abandoned dogs and cats. This brightens homes across the community and beyond. This year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, their shelter was emptied, which allowed the organization to take on animals from other states. Amanda and her family not only adopted their dog Ringo from the shelter this year, but they also donated time, money and supplies from the organization’s wish list.
We asked Amanda a few questions about the charity, and why her family dedicates time to it.
How Does the Nashville Humane Association Affect the Community and Its Cause?
“I think that having a pet makes everyone happier. It teaches children responsibility. And, it keeps loose dogs and cats off the street. More people found companionship and more pets found furever homes.”
Does Your Family Get Into the Spirit of Helping This Cause?
“Absolutely. My kids regularly tell people to “adopt, don’t shop” and they know what went into being foster families for these animals.”
What Is Your Inspiration for Helping Nashville Humane Association?
“I’ve always been a big dog lover. I’ve had rescues since I was little. One story that stuck with me was about retired greyhounds. When they’re unable to race, their bodies were often dumped. Plus, since their ears are tattooed to identify them, when the horrible people dump the bodies, they also cut off the dog’s ears. That story haunts me and it’s a reason why I am such an advocate for animals.”
Amanda Snowden and Family Provide Christmas Charity to Stranded Immigrants
During her Christmas visit to El Paso, MediaSmack President Amanda Snowden and her family helped struggling immigrants. The immigrants she met have US-based sponsors, but they were not able to get to their destinations. More than 500 people were released over the Christmas holiday in 2018 without food, shelter or warm clothing. Annunciation House in El Paso stepped in to help provide help for the immigrants.
On Christmas, Amanda and her husband took their children to St. Ignatius Church to hand out snacks. After seeing how many people needed basic supplies, like clothing, Amanda asked MediaSmack if it would be willing to donate supplies. MediaSmack donated over $1,200 in supplies, which were distributed by Amanda’s husband, Marc Lopez, as well as her children the day after Christmas. St. Ignatius Church is coordinating travel arrangements for these families to meet their sponsors, many in states that are several days away by bus.
Amanda said, “Watching my son give out toys, my husband give out medicine and my daughter hand out hats, gloves and scarves to make their journeys more comfortable was an amazing experience. They are all so grateful for the little help that we could provide to them.”