The holiday season is a magical time for kids everywhere, but for families in need, finding the resources to put presents under the tree can be difficult. At the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) Be Connected conference held in Las Vegas December 5-7, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) sponsored the Pack a Present toy drive to help provide a little holiday magic to children in the local community.

DSA member company executives and supplier members gave generously, donating hundreds of presents to benefit members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. And on Tuesday, December 7, twenty kindergarten-age children from the Boys and Girls Clubs joined attendees for a pancake breakfast complete with gifts for each child and a surprise appearance by Santa himself. A photographer from the Las Vegas Review-Journal was on hand for the breakfast and captured the delight of one of the children.

“It was an honor to participate in the DSEF’s Pack a Present toy drive and Breakfast with Santa,” said Cari Christopher, President, Signature HomeStyles. “Every gift that was donated by DSA members will add a little joy this Christmas and a sparkle in the eyes of a child. Thanks to DSEF for bringing together member companies to make a difference in the local community!”

Dulcinea Almazan, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, accompanied the children to the Mandarin Oriental hotel. “We’re glad to partner with the Direct Selling Education Foundation to bring holiday cheer to our city’s children,” she said. “During this time of year, it’s important for all of us to think about the difference we can make by investing in our community.”

DSA also lent its support, and staff members not only donated gifts, but pitched in as Santa’s elves, cutting pancakes and pouring syrup for the kids.

After the breakfast, the children had the chance to sit on Santa’s lap and have their picture taken. Rick Stambaugh, President and CEO of Fionda, portrayed Santa with gusto, even memorizing the names of Santa’s reindeer to make sure he could answer any questions the children might pose. “Being able to play Santa Claus for the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas was an absolutely heartwarming experience,” Stambaugh said. “Nothing can quite compare to the smile on those children’s faces when Santa was in the room. No one experiences the sheer, unadulterated joy of the Christmas spirit like a child. They can feel the miracle of the holiday, and for me, it is a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Charlie Orr, DSEF’s Executive Director, said that community outreach events like Pack a Present demonstrate the direct selling industry’s dedication to corporate social responsibility and its commitment to giving back. “In its role as the industry’s Goodwill Ambassador, DSEF is committed to bringing direct sellers together for meaningful philanthropy programs in the communities we visit,” Orr said. “The generosity of our member company and supplier members demonstrated the giving spirit of the industry, and there could be no greater reward for that generosity than seeing the excitement in the eyes of the children that joined us for the event.”

For Sean Key, VP Salesforce Motivation, Mary Kay Inc., the Pack a Present toy drive and Breakfast with Santa were two of the highlights of the Be Connected conference. “Giving back (Corporate Social Responsibility) has been a cornerstone for the DSEF and DSA member and supplier companies, and it really warmed my heart to see so many donated gifts for the kids,” he said. “Everyone deserves to have gifts during the holidays, and we joined together to make hundreds of dreams come true.”