Every little bit makes a huge difference to those in need. From adopting a family, to peeling onions and potatoes, to assembling hygiene kits, employees are really doing it all to help others.

— ♦ ♦ ♦ —Trial size items

In Monticello, Minn., employees are teaming up and collecting trial size personal care products items and snack foods — anything from tooth paste and anti-bacterial soap to body sprays, shampoo, lotion, snacks and gum (see box at right).

The items will be assembled in small gift bags and donated to the Monticello School District’s Magic Closet to be handed out to middle and high school students. The items will help students who otherwise go without some of these basic necessities.

In addition to the employee collection, TDS is also serving as a drop-off site for the community.

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In Madison, Wis., teams from Billing Support & Enhancement and Compliance volunteered at the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

“We volunteered, as part of the larger effort to end hunger in southwestern Wisconsin,” said Judy J., manager – Billing Support & Enhancements.

The compliance team spent their time packing onions while the Billing Support & Enhancement team spent a morning preparing potatoes for distribution to Second Harvest’s partner agencies, such as food pantries, shelters, and meal sites.

Billing Operations
The Billing Operations team


GRA Compliance
The Compliance team

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Earlier this month, TDS donated $100 in gift cards to the Shop with a Cop program in Albany, Wis. An hour after the gift cards arrived at the police station, a female resident called asking for help. She’d just lost her job and wasn’t sure how she would be able to create a nice holiday for her children. She was encouraged to come to the station, that some gift cards has just arrived and she could have them. When she arrived, all she could do was cry because she so overcome with emotion!

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Magic98 is a Madison, Wis., radio station. Annually, they coordinate a Magic98 Holiday Wish program. And, for more than five years, TDS has been a sponsor. This year, they received the below letter from a Holiday Wish recipient and shared it with their “amazing family of Magic98 Holiday Wish sponsors.” [Get your tissues ready.]

Dear Magic 98,
Today began as a particularly rough day. My youngest son, Jordan, didn’t want to go to school and I didn’t particularly feel like participating in life either. Because I understand that there will be days like this, I sent him to school and I went, too.

I greeted my students at my classroom door, crying, as I have many times before. They don’t try to fix me on these days; they hug me and bring me tissues and patiently wait for me to regain my composure and to tell them how much I miss my Gabe.

I had a meeting with my principal at 8:55 to discuss the science curriculum, and when we were interrupted at 9 with a phone call his secretary said he needed to take, I didn’t think much of it. But when he handed me the receiver, I panicked. I guess most bereaved parents would do the same; I don’t like surprises and the first thought that went through my mind was “which one of my other children has died”.

When I heard Dawn on the phone explaining that she wrote a letter to you about our situation, then you came on the line to tell me about the gift you wanted to give us, I was overcome with emotion. You see, between a painful divorce and the unfathomable loss of my Gabe, I have a hard time receiving love. I work two jobs to make ends meet and to provide me with just enough distraction that I don’t go crazy, and my remaining free time is spent with my youngest son, Jordan, who was Gabe’s best friend. We are healing one day at a time, but the holidays have brought much sorrow at the memories that will never be made again with Gabe.

You made me feel loved today. Dawn’s selfless spirit causes me to be thankful for such a friend. When we were finished on the phone today, I went back to my class and talked with my students for a long time about kindness, love, life and death. Your generosity and caring gesture has made it possible for us to be with Ben and Luke and their wives for the holidays, which is all we really wanted to have this year. We are leaving on December 22 for Phoenix. Our hearts are touched and our hope lifted, because of the tenderness in the hearts of all of you.

Thank you so very much. 
Bonnie, Jordan, Ben, Martha, Luke and Anne Heller
And Gabe too, who would be smiling ear to ear at this news.

You are truly beautiful people. 

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Across Dane County, TDS’ Community Outreach committee planned a number of opportunities for employees to get involved. And, boy did employees get involved! The committee extends its sincerest thank you to all employees for their generosity this holiday season! Here’s a quick look at the overwhelming generosity of employees:

  • Giving Tree —A holiday tree was set up with tags for donations that would go to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), Independent Living, and the Dane County Humane Society. The donations filled three vans. In addition, nearly $500 in gift cards were donated to DAIS and Independent Living.
  • Toys for Tots – Three huge boxes overflowing with hundreds of toys were given to the Marines as part of the Toys for Tots collection.
  • Porchlight – More than 30 employees, including a number of departments and teams, volunteered as “Porchlight Angels” to help dozens of families and individuals have a happy holiday. Angels donated gift cards for Christmas meals and wrapped presents. Plus, more than $100 was donated to Porchlight to help make a difference.
  • Second Harvest Food Drive – Two barrels of food were collected for the foodbank. When combined with the phone system for a day-long Phone-A-Thon and $3,500, TDS’ total contribution added up to nearly 17,600 meals to help eliminate hunger.
  • Salvation Army – Nearly 100 winter-loving employees/friends volunteered approximately 50 hours ringing bells at Copps grocery store this holiday season.

Check out the photos.

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