MC Assembly Helps Kids without Christmas Charity
“It’s a wonderful golf scramble tournament that we invite our suppliers, vendors and customers to participate in,” said Tom Rossi, Director of Procurement and Materials at MC Assembly. It’s a great opportunity to get people together for a good cause.”
Rossi estimates that between golfers and volunteers, about 170 people participate annually and about eighty percent of the players return every year.
“Our suppliers pick up the majority of the sponsorships,” Rossi said. “We raised $12,000 the first year. Over the years, we were able to grow it. Over $200,000 has been raised over the last eight years.”
Since 2009, the tournament has raised funds for Kids Without Christmas. Mike Kelly, who manages the MC Assembly cafeteria service, founded the charity organization 11 years ago.
“When I had my other restaurant, Kelly’s Deli, my daughter had seen a Christmas Giving Tree in school of local children who needed Christmas gifts and taken a name off of it. We came back to drop off the gift a few days before Christmas and saw that there were quite a few names left on the tree. I asked, ‘What about the names that are left? What about them?’” Kelly said.
The lady explained to Kelly that they would receive gift certificates or gift cards for Christmas.
“When I heard that, I thought ‘You can’t give kids gift certificates for Christmas’,” Kelly said. “I called a lot of my buddies and we had a Christmas party at the deli. After the party was over, I told them the food was on the house. We’ve got eight kids that we want to help. I had a little girl who wanted a doll. A boy wanted a bike. Another boy…the kid’s wish was a new pair of shoes. He simply wanted his own,” Kelly said.
Kelly raised $800 with a mayonnaise jar that day. His charity, Kids Without Christmas, that was founded from that raised $85,000 last year. All funds are raised and spent locally in Melbourne and Palm Bay area.
Rossi says the local connection is a big reason why MC Assembly supports Kids Without Christmas.
“It’s a charity that helps local families in our area who need gifts, food and clothing; basically families who would otherwise do without,” Rossi said.
“They’ve [MC Assembly] been our No. 1 contributor,” Kelly said. “They’ve been the best. Nobody can believe that we got over $35,000 from a golf tournament. MC Assembly has afforded us the opportunity to buy for a lot more kids every year for eight years now.”
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Kids for Christmas is that the charity does not spend money on promotions.
“We really like that 99.9 percent goes directly to charity. Kelly doesn’t promote it [spend money on advertising] because it’s successfully promoted by word of mouth,” Rossi said.
“We buy kids clothes, shoes, food and we individually shop for them,” Kelly said. “If they want a blond Barbie with blue dress, then brunette Barbie with the red dress doesn’t work. We have a group of shoppers that will go into Walmart three Sundays before Christmas.”
The wrapping party is always the Sunday before Christmas. Last year the charity wrapped 6,000 presents. 225 people show up to wrap gifts. Kelly says the community has really gotten involved.
“The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has helped for several years now,” Kelly said. “Sheriff Wayne Ivey and many of his deputies and staff help us wrap the presents. The Sheriff has just donated a computer system that will interlink our charity with all of the local charities in the area. As far as we know this is the first such system like this in the state to be set up.”
Kelly says at one point early on he was considering stopping the charity, but an incident happened that made him continue.
“Unfortunately, it’s only one day a year that we make a difference,” Kelly said. “At one point, I was almost ready to stop when Melbourne Police had a runaway. She had left her boyfriend because he was beating her up. A buddy called me from the police. He said, “Mike, I don’t know if you have any money but I’ve got a mom and her two kids who have no money. I told them to send her over. She said, ‘I moved here not knowing anyone. I literally cried myself to sleep every night not knowing how I was going to tell them Santa Claus was going to show up this year.’ That’s why we keep doing it.”