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Spreading the Joy During the Holidays in California and Arizona
January 04, 2018
The holidays are a favorite time of year for teammates in the California Division—it’s when we can experience the joy carrying out our annual tradition of giving back to families and organizations in need. This tradition is near and dear to our hearts, and it includes the act of making wishes come true, lending a helping hand, delivering warm smiles and being a community partner that truly cares. As Winston Churchill aptly stated, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” This is the same spirit our employees embody—and every year, we look forward to the opportunity to lift others.
Through a variety of types of employee donations, we spread the joy in the following ways:
Once again teammates banded together with others in the community to ensure a group of 17 special children living in an orphanage were showered with gifts. These special children have faced tough times—all have been placed in the orphanage by Child Protective Services. This year, employees visited the home and put on a special performance! They sang “Jingle Bells” to the children and then announced each child would receive a $25 gift card, which was added to a $500 donation from Division President, Brian Cahill, who wanted each child to have an extra toy. The children also received stockings stuffed full of surprises as an extra special touch. Good will is contagious—while visiting the Scottsdale office, Josh Young with Tempe Mechanical learned about our efforts and offered-up two new air conditioning units, which we will install at the orphanage at no charge!
Northern California: Alameda County Food Bank
Employees in our Oakland office dedicate several days throughout each calendar year to volunteer for the Alameda County Food Bank. They assist with everything from general office help, to sorting and boxing thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables. Most recently, they were immersed in fresh fruit, getting it ready to be delivered to low-income residents living in the City of Alameda. The produce is sweet and nutritious, but the feeling of giving back to the people who are living in communities where we work and live, is icing on the cake.
Southern California: Adopt-A-Family
Every year, employees in Southern California sponsor families in need through our Adopt-A-Family program. Teammates participate by donating gifts, shopping for personalized presents and gift wrapping. Many also help with the deliveries and join-in on the gift-giving celebrations. This year, we adopted 14 families—helping a total of 42 children (and their parents) who attend schools in districts where we work. The joy comes to both the givers and the receivers, and here’s a small glimpse into the stories of these special families and why it means so much:
Colton Joint USD
This family is a single father of two, ages 15 and 10. The fathers does what he can to make ends meet, never asking for help. Currently, the family lives in a motor home parked on the street next to where the father works. At night, his employer kindly allows them to move the motor home onto the business property, where they are safely off the street. Employees donated several wishes to this family, including a laptop for the oldest child to use for homework, as well as clothing and shoes for the younger child.
Culver City USD
This single mom is raising her 14-year-old daughter. She has a job, but also a medical condition that is painful, which ultimately caused an addiction to pain killers. She’s been clean for more than six years, but before that, they were homeless and bouncing from place to place. Currently, they are living with a kind volunteer who offered a guest house while they await a voucher for low income housing. The team donated $250 in gift cards, and was able to cross off many items on their wish list including phone chargers, movie tickets, clothing and more.
The father in this family has a full plate—he’s raising five kids on his own, three of which are under the age of five. Sadly, his wife and the children’s mother passed away two years ago. The grandfather pitches in by taking care of the younger children. They spent this past summer living without air conditioning in a home where the entire family sleeps in one room. Santa’s helpers granted wishes for all the children, the father, and the grandfather—one of which was a laptop that can be used by all the children for schoolwork.
This family of four children and a mom fled domestic violence from the father. The children, ages seven through 14, suffered physical abuse and the mother is having a difficult time finding a livable, paying job. She works full-time but can still not afford a home. Elves delivered $250 in gift cards as well as items such as board games, a basketball, a remote-controlled car, a gift basket and more.
This family has a son that attends MiraCosta College. Due to the devastating Lilac Fire, they lost their home—an heirloom that has been in the family for three generations. They also lost their possessions and several vehicles. Lucky, no one was hurt, but their lives are changed forever. Our teams donated $1,292 to the family through the college’s Emergency Relief fund, created to help MiraCosta community members impacted by the fire.
Chula Vista USD
A family of six children – ages 18 months to nine years old—was adopted. Teammates donated many gifts, ranging from clothes, to toys, to bicycles and scooters for both the children and the parents!
We also made the holidays a little brighter for children who attend schools in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Oxnard Unified School District, Redondo Beach Unified School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Tustin Unified School District and Wiseburn Unified School District.
A BIG thank you to everyone who donated time, money and gifts to help make the holidays extra special for so many in California and Arizona. The pleasure is ours!