Holiday giving programs are a tradition among the San Diego region’s water and wastewater agencies. As in previous years, in 2022, employees pitched in to help a wide array of nonprofit community services.
Members of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Charitable Giving Committee and Employee Association teamed up to help out in a food drive for the San Diego Food Bank and also encouraged employees to volunteer their time to help the organization.
A donation drive for Just In Time for Foster Youth collected financial donations and informed employees about opportunities to act as mentors and also connect college-bound foster youth with financial aid options and r help them move into a dorm or off-campus housing.
Bringing joy to kids in need
Sweetwater Authority employees gathered enough items to support 20 children in the South Bay through the Angel Tree program in 2022. Photo: Sweetwater Authority
Sweetwater Authority employees have been active participants in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program for nearly two decades, providing toys to children in its service area. Every year, employees take a tag that contains information about the recipient (age, gender, toy request). The employee shops for the item and brings them back unwrapped to the office. The Salvation Army picks up and delivers the donated toys. This year, employees donated enough toys to help make Christmas bright for 20 South County families and kids.
Helix Water District
The Helix Water District employee volunteer program, “Helix Helps,” collected toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program at each of its facilities. Photo: Helix Water District
Every holiday season, the U.S. Marine Corps works with nonprofits and businesses to collect toys for distribution to children in need through its annual Toys for Tots campaign. The Helix Water District employee volunteer program, “Helix Helps,” collects toys each year from collection boxes at each of its facilities and donated them both in-person and virtually.
Special giving traditions of generosity
City of Escondido Environmental Programs/Utilities employees drop off donations for this year’s holiday drive. (L to R): Marielle Decker, Emily Mixer, Sawyer Epp. Photo: City of Escondido
City of Escondido
City of Escondido employees, including the water and wastewater divisions put together “Souper Sacks,” bags of non-perishable food and fun surprises distributed through the city’s senior program at the Escondido Senior Center. This year’s effort brought 104 Souper Sacks. In addition, 500 pajamas were collected for students and families at the Escondido Union School District by the city’s “PJ Angels” for the Operation PJ program.
City of Poway
The City of Poway’s Public Works / Utilities employees collaborated with the Kiwanis Club “Holiday With A Hero” event to collect toys and shoes for more than 150 Poway children – a 50% increase from 2021.
Olivenhain Municipal Water District
Olivenhain Municipal Water District employee Tammi Bowman and her assistant Daisy make sure pets in need aren’t forgotten during the holidays with a donation to the San Diego Humane Society. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District
Olivenhain Municipal Water District employees enjoy playing Santa’s elves each holiday season with special giving traditions. Olivenhain MWD supports a family of six, three veterans, and two older adults through the Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program. Donations were also gathered and dropped off to support the San Diego Humane Society.
For 17 years, OMWD employees have enthusiastically supported fundraising for the nonprofit Water for People. The water district works with communities across the globe to install safe water and sanitation systems, educating local people on good health practices and saving thousands of lives. Olivenhain employees have volunteered abroad, helping set up water and sewer systems with the agency’s full support.
Olivenhain Municipal Water District “elves” Tammi Bowman and Paul Martinez show off donated nut baskets in front of “adoption” collection boxes. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District
During the holiday season, the San Diego chapter holds a competition to sell the most gift baskets donated by Wonderful Pistachios. Employees help assemble the baskets for sale. OMWD has been a top donor in past years. It set an ambitious goal of 200 baskets to win the honor of being “the nuttiest place to work in San Diego.” The agency’s employees exceeded the goal with 204 baskets collected.
(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, City of Poway, and City of Escondido are five of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across San Diego County.)