Nod Celebrates the Holidays

Post written by Rachel, our PR & Social Media Lead

This holiday season, we created a winter wonderland at our offices. We held a cube decorating contest (Frozen won), hung snowflakes everywhere and held a holiday party for 100 kids – Nod employee kiddos and little ones from Englewood, a community in Chicago that we’ve partnered with for a number of years.

We turned our office into a winter wonderland and are having a holiday party for our Nod family kiddos and children in need. Follow along as we celebrate with cookie decorating, holiday carols and more!IMG_6840IMG_6938 We decorated cookies, made sock snowmen and were treated to a performance by Emerald City Theatre and a sing-a-long from Lauren Hubert.

IMG_6959IMG_6946IMG_7026All the kiddos were able to take a picture with Santa and then each received a present to take home with them. Best of all, we presented a $15,000 check to a church in the community to help them fund their childhood programs.

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Happy holidays from Nod!

Ever wonder who’s behind The Land of Nod social media accounts? That’s Rachel! When she’s not telling anyone who will listen that she’s not meant to live in cold, snowy Chicago, you will  probably find Rachel binge-watching Netflix, reading blogs or in her kitchen making guacamole. Or starting crafting projects that never get finished.

A New Van For A Youth Center in Englewood, Chicago

New Van for a Youth Center in Englewood, Chicago

Over the last year, we’ve partnered with a youth center in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. This amazing outreach program is responsible for providing a safe place for hundreds of kids to learn, play and have a proper meal. The generosity and selflessness of the incredible people that run the youth center is truly inspiring, and we were amazed at how much they’ve done for kids in Englewood.

Englewood Youth Program Van Fundraising

When we found out that the youth center didn’t even have a safe, reliable mode of transportation for getting kids to and from the program, we couldn’t stand by and do nothing. So we started our “Van for a Van” program, where we used the proceeds from toy vans that we sold to purchase a real van for this much needed organization. And, on Friday, June 13, we were thrilled to present them with their shiny new van. It was the least we could do for an organization that’s so dedicated to providing so much for so many kids. We look forward to our continued partnership with the group, and stay tuned for more.

Englewood Youth Program Van Reveal Englewood Youth Program Van Reveal | The Land of Nod

Milk + Bookies Story Time Celebration

As part of our commitment to social responsibility, The Land of Nod partners with numerous organizations, charitable partners & philanthropic events. You may be familiar with our “Van for a Van” program, where 100% of the purchase price of this toy van will be donated to help buy a real van for an afterschool youth program we partner with located in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

A few months ago, we also joined forces as a proud sponsor of a non-profit organization, Milk + Bookies. Milk + Bookies is a nationwide charitable organization that promotes literacy and is dedicated to providing books to children who don’t have access to books of their own. We’ve hosted in-store events that encouraged children to stop by with a new or gently-used book to donate to kids in Chicago. A few weekends ago we were lucky enough to attend Milk + Bookies annual Story Time Celebration fundraiser in Los Angeles. The Story Time Celebration was filled with arts & crafts, delicious snacks and a celebrity story time.

We donated product to the story time stage and break room as well as handed out goodies from our traveling Nod Tour Bus. We had an absolute blast listening to storytime from the likes of Max Greenfield, Jenna Elfman, Julie Bowen, Jerry Ferrara and more.

Milk + Bookies Story Time Celebration

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Milk + Bookies Story Time Celebration 3

We encourage you to learn more & get involved in the Milk + Bookies mission. Details here —> Host your own Book-Raiser.

By Katie Harrington – In addition to being the mom to heart-throb toddler, Gavin, Katie’s in charge of all things social media and PR at Nod. She’s exceedingly energetic, which is good since, like the rest of us, she’s just trying to figure out how to be an incredible mom, while working and still having a blast being young herself! (BTW, we think she’s nailing it, but she’d probably disagree…darn mommy guilt.)

Englewood Project – Thanksgiving

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog about the classroom makeover we did for a youth group in the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago.  Before we even set foot in the facility where this makeover happened, we decided we wanted to do more than provide them with a fun space to play in, we wanted to help the neediest of families in this community to have a nice Thanksgiving, especially those with children.

We not only wanted to help as part of our support of the No Kid Hungry Campaign but also to provide our employees with a very tangible and real way to get involved.   Our employees shopped for and donated all of the side dishes for 50 Thanksgiving meals, The Land of Nod provided the turkeys with the help of Sunset Foods, headquartered in Highland Park, Illinois.   When we were making the plan for doing this, we couldn’t figure out where in the world we were going to store 50 frozen turkeys!  Our two refridgerators here at the corporate offices were just not going to work!  Sunset not only offered to store the frozen turkeys for us, but then gave us gift certificates to help offset the cost.  It was a huge help. 

Our next issue was transportation, how were we going to get 50 boxes of food and 50 turkeys safely down to Englewood in one trip?  Again, we found a generous partner in RSL trucking in Chicago, they gave us a rental van free of charge, so we could load up and get everything down there in one trip.

The day of the Thanksgiving meal distribution, we loaded up the truck with turkeys and food and then a small caravan of us, including our Managing Director Michelle Kohanzo and two of her kids, headed down to Englewood.  Yolanda Morris, the director of the youth program along with several volunteers helped us unload and set up for the families who would come to claim their meals.  Everyone was very appreciative of our efforts, and more than gracious in accepting our help.  One of the women who work with this program told me that without our donations, these families would not be able to have a Thanksgiving turkey dinner.



Englewood Thanksgiving

It’s amazing how good it makes you feel to be a part of something like that, but even more, I’m incredibly proud to be working with such an amazing and generous group of people here at The Land of Nod.  It just goes to show you that a small group of people really can work together to make a big difference.  Happy Thanksgiving!

By Sue Cortesi

Sue is the Director of Human Resources at The Land of Nod. Not only that, she’s also an avid cook and baker, much to the delight of everybody in the office. In fact, Sue’s famous cranberry recipe took home the grand prize for Taste of Home Magazine’s recipe contest.