They are heart-breaking stories – a father who lost a job or a single parent who can barely make ends meet. Every day, Salvation Army Captain Jana Griffin hears the emotional journeys of someone in our community who could easily be one of us, a neighbor or loved one.
But it’s this time of the year that makes them a lot more bearable because she knows help is coming from CPS Energy and others. We’re the Angel Tree program volunteers she counts on to cause an explosion of smiles, laughter and, sometimes, happy tears.
“As a parent, I know what it’s like,” said Griffin. “When my son was younger, I was in a position of not being able to get a gift for him. Children shouldn’t have to suffer because of the economy or because a parent got laid off. For us to be able to give a child a gift that they really want like a bike or scooter, I know it means the world to them.”
Griffin and her staff lead the local Angel Tree program, which benefits 3,000 families and 7,000 children. She says it’s a big job that would be impossible for her and a small staff without the help of companies like CPS Energy.
“CPS Energy is one of my favorite corporate companies to work with,” she said. “I know we’re going to have a good day and get things done when I see CPS Energy volunteers come in the door with those orange shirts. They are one of my favorite volunteer groups.”
This year, our employees personally bought gifts for more than 1,000 kids, including clothing, toys, bicycles and sporting equipment. Then, CPS Energy recruited more than 200 volunteers to assemble, organize and distribute gifts to local families at the Salvation Army toy shop.
“It’s a great feeling to help out families in need during the holidays,” said Fidencio Castellanos, a UED Equipment Operator from our Southwest Service Center. “It reminds you that everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. It’s great to see the big smiles from all these grateful families.”
Lori Johnson, Director of Corporate Responsibility, is proud to see volunteers come out in full force.
“Every year, our employees really enjoy supporting Salvation Army and our Angel Tree toy drive,” said Johnson. “We’ve worked on a lot of great projects, so this is a great way to end the year with one of our biggest volunteer initiatives.”