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Being in the community...and of itBeing in the community...and of it

When this issue of Flight School Business lands in your inbox, Thanksgiving will be in the distance, and Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa on the horizon.

One flight school in Arizona celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday by hosting a huge dinner for its hundreds of international students. TransPac Aviation Academy in Phoenix hosted the dinner at Deer Valley Airport not only to give its students a taste of a traditional Thanksgiving celebration, but also to help the local community.

For two weeks prior to the event, TransPac spearheaded a food drive and donated all the items to St. Vincent de Paul, a charitable organization that helps hungry and homeless people in central and western Arizona. What’s more, TransPac hired St. Vincent de Paul to cater the Thanksgiving meal.

“For many of our students, this will be their first time participating in a traditional U.S. Thanksgiving celebration,” said TransPac CEO Nader Yassa. “We thought since we were going to put on a Thanksgiving meal anyway, why not have that meal’s cost actually raise money for such a worthwhile charity?”

I love the idea that a flight school that specializes in training international students took our traditionally gut-busting holiday to its more charitable extremes, and looked beyond the airport fence to the community that needed its help.

Few flight schools are in a financial position to treat their students and staff to a full Thanksgiving meal and hire a charity to cater the event. But there are many ways in which a flight school can support its community. Numerous opportunities crop up around the holidays, such as Toys for Tots and Salvation Army campaigns. Other year-round opportunities include collecting canned goods and other nonperishable items for the local food bank, and sponsoring a local sports team.

The Better Business Bureau recognizes that many small businesses can’t just write a big check to support the communities they serve. The BBB suggests that you consider donating time; resources (consider offering services, equipment, or space); and support (encourage staff to participate in company-backed volunteering efforts). More ideas are available here.

What’s the payback for you? “Customers are loyal to businesses that are involved in programs that support their local community,” according to the BBB. “Even if small businesses are not able to write a big check, they can still be good corporate citizens by supporting local causes and creating mutually beneficial collaborations.”

Do you support local charities? Please take this issue’s poll. (This poll will close on Dec. 15.)

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.

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