The tradition of generous holiday support by the San Diego region’s water and wastewater agencies flourished again in 2021. Employees pitched in to help a wide array of nonprofit community services.
This year, the Charitable Giving Committee and Employee Association of the San Diego County Water Authority joined forces to support The Arc of San Diego. The Arc of San Diego serves adults and children with disabilities, empowering them to achieve their goals and reach their maximum potential.
The Arc of San Diego put together an Amazon holiday wish list for some of its clients with various items and brief bios on the recipients.
“Our employees eagerly pitched in to play Santa for these deserving families,” said John Kross, chair of the Water Authority’s Charitable Giving Committee. “It was even more meaningful to us when we learned a little about our recipients from Arc of San Diego. It reminded us what these small acts of kindness mean in the lives of our neighbors during the holidays. Our Charitable Giving Committee and Employees Association have a long legacy of philanthropic support, and we are more dedicated to our efforts than ever since the pandemic made life challenging for so many people.”
Bringing joy to kids and families in need
Sweetwater Authority employees collected toys for a family through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. 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 pickups and delivers the donated toys. This year, employees donated enough toys to help make Christmas bright for 20 South County families and kids.
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
Each holiday season, the Marine Corps partners with local nonprofits and businesses to collect toys for distribution to less fortunate children throughout the community. The Helix Water District employee volunteer program, “Helix Helps,” collected toys from collection boxes at each of its facilities and donated both in-person and virtually from November 22 through December 16. Under the Helix Helps program, Helix employees, families, and friends volunteer their time to help support the communities the district serves year-round.
The Toys for Tots drive continues virtually. Individuals can shop for toys virtually or donate directly to the Toys for Tots campaign at toysfortotsbox.com
City of Escondido Environmental Programs/Utilities team employees drop off this year’s donations. Photo: 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 Park Avenue Community Center. This year’s effort brought 292 Souper Sacks. In addition, nearly 300 items included gift cards, toys, blankets, pajamas, and clothing were donated for students and families at the Escondido Union School District by the city’s “PJ Angels.”
(Left to right): Poway employees Alex Limas, Fernando Ramirez, Kathy Clancy, Santa Claus (a seasonal employee), Randy Slusher and Chad Weigel with holiday donations. Photo: City of Poway
The City of Poway’s Water and Wastewater Utilities employees collaborated with the Kiwanis Club “Holiday With A Hero” event to provide more than 100 Poway children with food, blankets, towels, first aid kits, shoes, and toys.
OMWD Engineering Supervisor Steve Weddle and Accountant Tammi Bowman are ready to load up donations from Olivenhain Municipal Water District employees. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District
Olivenhain Municipal Water District employees are playing Santa Claus for humans and canines alike in 2021. Donations were gathered for a single mom and her four children, two local seniors, and two veterans in its annual Adopt-A-Family effort. Employees also collected a box load of donations for A New Life Rescue, an organization finding homes for abused and neglected dogs in San Diego.
OMWD employees also collected donations in support of the international organization Water For People, a volunteer-based nonprofit working to support disadvantaged communities by providing sustainable, lasting solutions. This winter, OMWD employees raised over $4,669 in donations to help this cause.
(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Helix 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 the metropolitan San Diego region.)