CHICAGO— The charity of the housewares industry is exhibited during every International Home + Housewares Show.
And for the 14th year tonight, the Housewares Charity Foundation will celebrate the industry’s heart and philanthropy at the annual HCF gala at the Chicago Hilton. Crate and Barrel CEO Barbara Turf will be honored as the 2011 HCF Lifetime Humanitarian; and Helen of Troy Chairman, President and CEO Jerry Rubin will be recognized as the HCF Humanitarian of the Year.
There is an important link to the selections of Turf and Rubin this year beyond any business relationship between Crate and Barrel and Helen of Troy’s Oxo kitchenware.
That link is children, more specifically the commitment by Crate and Barrel and Helen of Troy to charitable endeavors that support the wellbeing of children.
That the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is the legacy charity of the Housewares Charity Foundation has always seemed apropos for an industry that courts women as its primary consumer base. Tonight’s gala once again will support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
But tonight also is about children: the children of mothers and fathers who could be saved by the efforts by this industry to eradicate breast cancer; and the children who represent the blossoms of an industry and a global community in renewal.
While perhaps not always obvious, children inextricably are connected to the housewares industry. It is no coincidence that housewares marketers recently have dedicated so much energy to creating new products and programs that encourage kids to cook, to bake, to clean, to decorate, to mend…To participate in and be rewarded by activities that are sure to be so essential to their lives for years to come.
Today’s children aren’t just the future of housewares. They are the future, period, and they deserve this industry’s attention.
This certainly hasn’t been lost on tonight’s HCF honorees, Barbara Turf and Jerry Rubin. Children are high priorities among the myriad philanthropic causes championed by these market leaders and their companies.
Rubin’s Helen of Troy actively supports Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, among the causes to benefit from tonight’s housewares charity gala. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has created a program of local bake sales to raise funds supporting research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. The husband-and-wife tandem of Oxo’s Larry Witt and Gretchen Holt founded Cookies for Kids’ Cancer on the inspiration of their toddler son Liam and his battle with Neuroblastoma.
Mission Of Hope
Liam passed in late January, just a few weeks from his 7th birthday in May. It is his loving and courageous spirit that forms the lasting foundation on which his parents and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will continue to build their mission. And continue to build hope.
One of Crate and Barrel’s signature corporate causes is DonorsChoose, which supports public school classrooms across the country with donations of everything from books to microscopes to field trips. Crate and Barrel’s partnership with DonorsChoose has benefited more than a million students since 2006.
“It’s what encourages children to dream big dreams,” said Turf, a teacher before joining Crate and Barrel more than 40 years ago.
Thanks to the efforts of Barbara Turf, Jerry Rubin and so many others in this business, the wellbeing of children is a cause that won’t be overlooked.
Big dreams deserve every opportunity to grow into even bigger realities.
It’s yet another legacy the housewares industry should be proud to exhibit.