Dec 9 16

Aid for Friends Cooking Event Brings Food & Fun To Home-bound People

by Sam Goldenberg

‘Tis the season to give back, and many SofterWare elves are taking part. A group of eleven recently volunteered at Aid for Friends.

Operating since 1974, Aid for Friends is one of the largest and most established home delivered meals program in Pennsylvania, serving 300,000 free dinner meals, 58,000 soups and 42,000 breakfast bags to an aggregate 1,700 home- bound persons each year. They also provide nearly 100,000 hours of friendly visiting annually to home-bound individuals.

They had a wonderful time baking cookies, peeling and dicing potatoes, preparing vegetables, packaging cupcakes and scrubbing serving trays (yes, giving back can even make ‘doing the dishes’ fun!)

Our happy helpers: Donna Mitchell, Ellen Molon, Ellen Qureshi, Kathy Piunti, Laura Beth Bigelow, Lauren Sheehan, Laurie Wernick, Lindsey Minnich, Melissa Winterborne, Paula Burns and Debbie Foster

Our happy helpers: Donna Mitchell, Ellen Molon, Ellen Qureshi, Kathy Piunti, Laura Beth Bigelow, Lauren Sheehan, Laurie Wernick, Lindsey Minnich, Melissa Winterborne, Paula Burns and Debbie Foster

Kathy and Donna are all business in the kitchen.

Kathy and Donna are all business in the kitchen.

Debbie lines up the cans for Lauren to open with the biggest opener I've enter seen!

Debbie lines up the cans for Lauren to open with the biggest opener I’ve enter seen!

Laurie squeezes out the cookies under the close supervision (and approval) of Laura and Paula.

Laurie squeezes out the cookies under the close supervision (and approval) of Laura and Paula.

Melissa and Lauren are all smiles cleaning up everyone else's mess.

Melissa and Lauren are all smiles cleaning up (can you come to my house?)

Nov 28 16

24 hour Gamer Marathon Helps Children’s Health

by Sam Goldenberg

Since the invention of video games, parents have been yelling at their kids “Stop playing so much – you’re wasting your life! What good is going to come from all of this?”

Well video gamers now have an answer to that question!

Two of SofterWare’s finest, Zack Walton and Chris Carlin, we’re part of an AMAZING program called Extra Life. Extra Life unique event unites thousands of players around the world in a 24-hour gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Zack and Chris directly supported the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $22 million for local CMN Hospitals.

extralifeone2

extralifeone

Nov 7 16

Purple Stride Philly Raises Thousands to Defeat Pancreatic Cancer

by Sam Goldenberg

It’s hard to believe it’s been exactly one year to the day since our dear friend and coworker Nadine Lubarsky passed away from pancreatic cancer. She is missed every day by her family and friends, and the many coworkers and clients at SofterWare who became her friend. Many of us got together today to honor her memory and raise money to bring an end to pancreatic cancer. It was the 2016 PurpleStride Philadelphia race and walk, which at the time of this writing, raised $697,214! Our team, Love for Nadine, raised $10,861, surpassing our $10,000 goal!

It was the crack of dawn and cold, and I forgot my Elmo jumper. I was so jealous of Nadine's grandson.

It was the crack of dawn and cold, and I forgot my Elmo jumper. I was so jealous of Nadine’s grandson.

I met up with Fast Sammy Stortz, who scooted over to the starting line (he was running). I then walked over to the “Love for Nadine” team for the annual group picture. Her friends and entire family were there, including her beloved grandson who came dressed as Elmo!

The annual group portrait. I'm the cut off guy on the right, but don't worry, I'm all right - (get it? - ALL right?) Nevermind.

The annual group portrait. I’m the cut off guy on the right, but don’t worry, I’m all right – (get it? – ALL right?) Nevermind.

I then ran up to the starting line to capture Sam beginning the race. This was his second race in 12 hours. The night before he won a race against current members of his old college racing team (take that young punks – our young punk kicked your butt!) After the runners took off, the walkers got started. By the time we walkers did one big loop that took us back to the start line before sending us into the park, Sam was 1 minute away from winning the race! He completed the 3-K in around 16 minutes! He said it was between him and one other guy at the 2 mile mark when Sam “dropped” him and took off running, crossing the finish line 20 seconds before any other runner! This is the second time in three years Sam won the whole race, and he came in second last year. We share the same name and work in the same department, but that’s where the similarities end. I can barely tie my shoes. After he won the race, he ran back around and met up with me, and found me breathing heavy from walking. He and I then fished the walk, and with his help I surpassed my time with a 1 hour 5 minutes finish time! Take that Usain Bolt!

Sam Stortz at the start of the race. I don't know how he won with that arrow over his head.

Sam Stortz at the start of the race. I don’t know how he won with that arrow over his head.

It was a beautiful brisk day, Nadine’s family and friends came out in force to show our love and honor her memory, we surpassed our fundraising goal, Sam won the race, and I didn’t collapse. Somewhere, Nadine is smiling.

Oct 14 16

18 Pints of Blood & Unknown Lives Changed

by Sam Goldenberg

We held our regular blood drive the other day, and 18 people donated the gift of life. Two people went through the extra process of Double Red Cell Donation, allowing a donor to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning their plasma and platelets to them.

Giving blood is an act of kindness to strangers you may never meet, but whose lives are forever changed by your donated blood. The Red Cross outlines many reasons why you should donate blood, but whatever reason you do, on behalf of all those strangers – thank you!
Aaron Donating Blood
Ali Donating Blood
Jim, Laura, and Beth Donating Blood
Tom Kelly Donating Blood

Jul 15 16

SofterWare Delivers 1740 Pounds of Food

by Sam Goldenberg

It was billed as the battle of the century. Two mighty teams pitted against each other in the cause of ‘good’. In one corner, you had the fierce Implementation team (the folks that get our clients up and running quickly, and on the right track from the very start). In the other corner was the Sales and Marketing teams. At stake was bragging rights for which team could bring in the most food for Loaves & Fishes, a local food bank that SofterWare has committed to donating 2000 pounds of food in 2016. We started out in 2014 by giving during the winter holidays, but they told us their greatest need is during the summer when school is out. So we began a summer food drive in 2015, which led to our year long commitment this year.

I’m happy to report the winner and still champion: Loaves & Fishes! This contest was so competitive, we raised 1,740 pounds of food! Given our previous deliveries this year, we already surpassed our 2016 goal with a total of 2,273 pounds! Not too shabby! Special thanks to all who contributed, and Paula Burns for coming up with this great idea to compete! We look forward to other departments battling for this great cause. For you nonprofits out there, this is a good lesson. Competition brings results, and in this case, the results benefited Loaves & Fishes. Think of ways to do this for your nonprofit!

Steven and  Alex give each other hand with the heavy boxes (thank goodness for interns!)

Steven and Alex give each other hand with the heavy boxes (thank goodness for interns!)

Sales Manager Paul packing up the goods collected from the sales and marketing teams.

Sales Manager Paul packing up the goods collected from the sales and marketing teams.

EZCare account manager swoops in at the last minute with a heavy pallet of food to win the contest for the sales and marketing teams - thanks Audrey!

Don’t pack that last box yet Paul! Here comes Audrey swooping in at the last minute with a heavy pallet of food.

The boys are checking out their great work: our hallways are filled with food!

Alex checks out the results: our hallways are filled with food!

Shane and Paul pack-up the pick-ups with all the good grub.

Shane and Paul pack-up the pick-ups with all the good grub.

More loading to be done. In fact, we needed two pick-up trucks to carry all the food!

More loading to be done. In fact, we needed two pick-up trucks to carry all the food!

Alex, Steven, Paul, Frank, Eleanor, and Shane take a well-deserved break after loading up two trucks of food!

Alex, Stephen, Paul, Frank, Eleanor, and Shane take a well-deserved break after loading up two trucks of food!

All that food is now crowding up the Loaves & Fishes hallways!

All that food is now crowding up the Loaves & Fishes hallways!

All the movers and shakers in this food haul, including Eleanor, Frank, Paul, John, Steven, Alex, Steve, and Mike.

All the movers and shakers in this food haul, including Eleanor, Frank, Paul, John, Steven, Alex, Steve, and Mike.

May 1 16

Earth Day at the Ambler YMCA

by Sam Goldenberg
Folks from SofterWare got to show off their green thumbs by volunteering on Earth Day for the Ambler YMCA.  The first goal was to build a garden, so our amazing team shoveled dirt from a pretty big pile, wheel barreled it to the new raised garden bed, and dumped and leveled it. They also did the same thing to a pile of wood chips to put them in the playground, making it safer for the kids.
SofterWare volunteers: Kathy, Eleanor, Joshua, Illona, Miranda, Shane, Jess, Becky, Dan, Theresa and her daughter Bri.

SofterWare volunteers: Kathy, Eleanor, Joshua, Illona, Miranda, Shane, Jess, Becky, Dan, Theresa and her daughter Bri.

Illona and Jess are filling the garden boxes to keep out the critters (I guess, the author only has plastic plants in his home due to the death of too many poor plants)

Illona and Jess are filling the garden boxes to keep out the critters (I guess, the author only has plastic plants in his home due to the death of too many poor plants).

Eleanor and Miranda take a break from their labor to pose for the paparazzi.

Eleanor and Miranda take a break from their labor to pose for the paparazzi.

The beds are ready for the flowers and veggies to come (do they grow balsamic vinaigrette to go with it?)

The beds are ready for the flowers and veggies to come (do they grow balsamic vinaigrette to go with it?)

Illona works to get the playground safe from boo-boos.

Illona works to get the playground safe from boo-boos.

 

Apr 3 16

SofterWare Gives Blood

by Sam Goldenberg

It’s that time of year when the folks at SofterWare roll up their sleeves – literally. The American Red Cross came to our offices so 17 donors could provide much-needed, life-saving blood.  One participant even went through the extra process of Double Red Cell Donation, allowing a donor to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning their plasma and platelets to them.

Debbie and Linda wrangled up some replenishing grub for the volunteers in our make-shift canteen.

Debbie and Linda wrangled up some replenishing grub for the volunteers in our make-shift canteen.

Ron, a pint low, but still all smiles while donating the gift of life.

Ron, a pint low, but still all smiles while donating the gift of life.

John takes a well-deserved siesta while donating.

John takes a well-deserved siesta while donating.

Laura, pictured here after her donation, and Jim are the coordinators of our blood drives. They do a great job of getting the word out (I do marketing here and I can learn a thing or three from them).

Laura, pictured here after her donation, and Jim are the coordinators of our blood drives. They do a great job of getting the word out (I do marketing here and I can learn a thing or three from them).

Apr 3 16

Volunteers for Children’s Scholarship Fund Bring Great Joy

by Sam Goldenberg

Volunteering for a nonprofit always provides participants an opportunity to feel good by helping out a good cause, though sometimes it involves hard work, long hours, and sometimes not so pleasant tasks (I’ve picked up my fair share of icky trash in park clean-ups). Not so for several SofterWare employees who got the enviable volunteer task of calling families on behalf of the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia, a DonorPerfect client who was one of the recipients of SofterWare’s EITC donation. Joe Stafford, Evan Doyle, Kathy Piunti and Eleanor Stasio helped called over 2,000 lucky recipients with the happy news: full school scholarships to K-8 students in financial need to a tuition-based school. Here is a video snippet of a family receiving a call.

Joe, Evan, Eleanor, Kathy and Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia

Joe, Evan, Eleanor, Kathy and Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia

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Evan making someone very happy!

 

 

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Eleanor bringing some good tidings to a deserving family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 29 16

SofterWare Celebrates 35 Years By Giving Back

by Sam Goldenberg

SofterWare recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, which is pretty amazing considering half the company wasn’t even born when we started! For 35 years, we’ve combined our holiday party with our anniversary party, and held it in February or March. “Whaaaa?” you say? Trust me, it makes perfect sense to do it now. The fun of the holidays are long over, football is over, and spring is still 40 degrees away.  Since I couldn’t convince our exec team to fly over 150 of us from Philly to Key West, this party was a nice alternative.

This year, in addition to our traditional schmoozing, and lots of eating, we decided to celebrate our 35 years by giving back. When everyone came in, they were given $250 of SofterWare “funny money” to play blackjack, roulette, and craps. They were a big hit as the tables were filled immediately. I must have explained my limited knowledge of craps to 10 people. They were blowin’ on dice, screaming “Yo Eleven” and booing everyone who crapped out.

Gambling

Anyone who won or had money left  at the end of the night could trade them in for tickets. They could then put those tickets into ten baskets representing ten charities nominated and chosen by our staff in a company vote. All told, we donated $3,740 to charities, and partied like movie stars in the process. Not a bad way to spend a cold winter night!

Feb 15 16

Cupid Delivers Carnations & Donations

by Sam Goldenberg

On Valentine’s day, thoughts turn to chocolates, flowers, romantic meals, and love.  Did I mention chocolates? Any holiday that involves the giving of chocolate is a winner in my book.  But there is a dark side to all holidays, especially Valentine’s Day: forgetting it!  Whoa unto the person who forgets to get their love a Valentine something or other (unless you clear it with each other ahead of time, and even then you better make sure they really mean it!)

Fortunately at SofterWare, we make forgetting a thing of the past!  Our very own cupid, Karen Konchinsky, spent part of her day Friday delivering carnations to staff members that were paid for by other staff members.

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We got to show our appreciation to our fellow SofterWarians, with the added bonus of helping some local charities.

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175 carnations were delivered, netting $255. A carnation buyer (your’s truly) was randomly selected to pick a charity to receive the proceeds.  I chose two: The Play It Forward Hockey Foundation, which was started by our very own Quality Assurance manager Jeff Pagano, and Warrington Youth Baseball, which our VP for Fundraising Solution Jon Biedermann holds near and dear to his heart.  (When Jon has a new DonorPerfect fundraising software feature to test, he frequently includes them in our testing, so I wanted to say thank you to the little leaguers for stepping up to the plate on so many occasions!) Jon said “The money will be put to good use helping those who can’t afford baseball be able to still play through our scholarship program.”

SofterWare will be matching the donation for a grand total of $255 going to both organizations. Ah amore!

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