Centerplate, Denver Mart, Orbus and Others Get Into the Holiday Spirit

November 27, 2019

For many in the events industry, the holidays are a time of open-hearted generosity and giving back. Here’s what several event venues and companies are doing to bring holiday cheer to those in need. 

Centerplate and Pasadena Convention Center Celebrate a Heartfelt Thanksgiving

For the sixth year in a row, the Centerplate team at Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Ca., will prepare 300 turkeys to feed more than 1,500 homeless men, women, children, seniors and very low-income families at the 49th annual Union Station Homeless Services Dinner in the Park, taking place at Pasadena Central Park on Thanksgiving day.


“Over the past six years, it has been an honor for the Pasadena Convention Center and Centerplate to donate resources to help make Union Station Homeless Services Dinner in the Park a success,” said Jeanne Goldschmidt, executive director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau.  “We are grateful for the services and meals they offer and are pleased to participate in such a giving cause.”

This is the first year the meal will be led by Jon Dubrick, Centerplate’s new regional executive chef who oversees the creation of food offerings at the convention center and civic auditorium.  

“This is a small gesture, but one we are proud to make each year for the local Pasadena community on behalf of our Centerplate and Sodexo joint team,” said Doug Finney, Centerplate district manager.

Denver Mart Donates Event Space to Operation Free Bird 

Denver Mart has continued its tradition of supporting the Denver community by donating event space and services to the 16th annual Operation Free Bird Thanksgiving event. Held Nov. 23 this year, Operation Free Bird is a combination of fun and health fair designed to bring less-fortunate citizens in Adams County together with local agencies, businesses and organizations.  

Through various donations from more than 30 organizations and 90 volunteers, the event provided 3,000 families with resources and assistance to help them enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Hosted by Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the event provides families in need with all the fixings for a delicious Thanksgiving meal as well as free flu shots; medical, dental, hearing and vision screenings; career and personal advice; haircuts and child ID kits; food and drinks; and displays, demonstrations and music.

Originally started as a small neighborhood get-together, Operation Free Bird continues to grow every year. In 2018, 6,000 free turkeys were given away at the event. 

Orbus Exhibit & Display Group Holds Blood Drive With American Red Cross

Orbus Exhibit & Display Group held its first blood drive in partnership with the American Red Cross on Nov. 11 at its Woodridge, Ill. headquarters. More than 30 Orbus employees participated in the drive, including Alex Frederick, Orbus’s marketing supervisor.

“Orbus wanted to give back in a truly life-changing way, and the Red Cross is such a fantastic organization,” Frederick said. “The work that they do helps so many people, and Orbus wanted to make a positive impact on people not only in the local community but across the country.”


The event was coordinated by Orbus’ Social and Cultural Committee, which plans an array of charitable events throughout the year in support of the company’s philanthropic efforts including various fundraisers such as an annual Toys for Tots drive and holiday bake sale.

Besides the blood drive, Orbus’ third- and fourth-quarter fundraising efforts have been focused on Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, with events such as casual wear buy-in, manager dunk tank and an ice cream social. 

The company hosts charitable effort year-round, and the first half of 2019 was dedicated to raising over $9,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Frederick said. 

“Having a blood drive right in the building made it an easy decision; [I could] take a little time out of my day to do something simple that could be life-changing for another,” said Frederick, who participated in the drive. “It became quickly apparent to me how important it is for Orbus to do what it can to give back to the community, and as a team member, you see that commitment and it inspires you to do your part.” 

Greater Columbus Convention Center Honored for Employing Military Veterans

Last month, the Greater Columbus Convention Center was honored by the U.S. Department of Labor for demonstrating success in hiring military veterans during the 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Awards

Held at The Great Hall of the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D. C., the ceremony recognized entities who excel in recruiting, employing and retaining our nation’s military veterans.

During the ceremony, J.S. Shellenberger, acting assistant secretary for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, extended his congratulations to GCCC representatives for the facility’s exemplary efforts to recruit, employ and retain military veterans. 

“By meeting the criteria required for a Gold Medallion Award, the Greater Columbus Convention Center demonstrated a model of patriotism worthy of praise as well as a recognition of the value veterans bring to the workplace,” Shellenberger said.

As the only veteran hiring award at the federal level, the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans (HIRE Vets) Medallion Program implements the requirements of the Hire Vets Act of 2017, signed into law by President Trump in May 2017.

Managed by ASM Global and owned and developed by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, the GCCC employs more than 200 full-time and part-time staff, including more than four dozen veterans.

In addition to hiring military veterans, the GCCC: 

  • Offers reserved and preferential parking for veterans in GCCC parking garages
  • Honors veterans with special patriotic ribbons and other visible means of thanks throughout the year
  • Hosts the annual Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down, an event where service agencies and vendors unite to offer “a hand up, not a handout” to local veterans in need
  • Displays in a special showcase Challenge Coins bearing the insignia of each veteran’s branch of service on one side of the coin and the veteran’s name and GCCC logo on the other

John R. Page, GCCC general manager, accepted the award along with GCCC Human Resources Manager Kasandra Cook, who commented that the facility recognizes the incredible value of hiring veterans who often boast a wide range of experience, competencies and skill sets. 

“The military prepares our veterans to understand how to bring a diverse team of people together to pursue strategic and common goals; adapt to information in dynamic and high-pressure situations that result in excellent service; and the highest standards of quality, safety and organizational imperatives,” Cook said.

For more information about the HIRE Vets program, go here.  

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