Through SDGivE, volunteers have dedicated their time and talent to spread kindness and cheer from a distance. Over the last five weeks, more than 300 employees have supported approximately 35 local nonprofits through volunteer efforts to help people in need this holiday season. Many efforts that would traditionally occur in-person, have transitioned to virtual or remote settings to keep our community members and employees safe.
Here are some of the highlights from our projects this month:
Operation Holiday Kindness Cards
This holiday season, we teamed up with Art FORM, a San Diego-based nonprofit dedicated to art education and environmental stewardship through creative reuse, to supply our employees and their families with card-making kits equipped with paper, cards, postcards and other repurposed supplies to make homemade holiday kindness cards.
We also partnered with five local nonprofits throughout San Diego County that serve seniors, foster youth, active-duty military families, victims of violence and sexual assault, and other individuals and families in need to distribute these handmade kindness cards to their clients Approximately 75 employees made and sent cards to Armed Services Camp Pendleton, Center for Community Solutions, ElderHelp, Promises2Kids, and South Bay Community Services. Additionally, each partner received a $1,000 holiday grant in support of our employee volunteer efforts.
Helping Local Families Celebrate the Holidays
For many local families, the holidays can present additional financial challenges. This can be especially hard for children, as they often associate holidays with gifts. During the month of December, our employees are helping ease some of the holiday strain for families in need by supporting toy drives that will enable thousands of children to receive a special holiday gift.
Leading up to the holidays, employees are partnering with Promises2Kids, a local nonprofit devoted to improving the lives of foster children, to collect gift card donations and deliver gift baskets to foster youth.
Additionally, employees have teamed up with the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council to purchase toys for the United Way of San Diego County and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council’s Holiday Food and Toy Distribution, an annual event that supports working families and community members who struggle to make ends meet. Over 600 families in San Diego County are benefiting from the distribution, including home healthcare workers, hospital workers, janitors and others who regularly need assistance due to low wages and high housing costs in the region.
Thanks to the generosity of our employees, over $6,000 and counting has also been donated to Promises2Kids, Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation, San Diego Center for Children, and the Salvation Army to support holiday toy distribution events throughout San Diego. There is no question that this year has been especially challenging, and we are proud to maintain our holiday tradition to support families in need.
(Posted Dec. 15) -- Giving Tuesday is held annually on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and represents an international day of charitable giving intended to inspire philanthropy to transform communities around the world. For several years, our employees have given generously to the charities of their choice on Giving Tuesday, especially those that fight hunger in the communities where we live and work. The results have been a true reflection of our company’s commitment to helping people in the communities we serve.
This year, we organized our company’s first "SDGivE Tuesday" to coincide with Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1. At a time when the COVID pandemic has challenged families and communities like never before, once again, our employees came through to help those in need with extraordinary resolve. Approximately 300 of our employees donated an incredible one-day total to 113 nonprofits. And those same employees applied to have their donations matched through the My Energy program.
Our community relations team also made additional funds available to match employee donations to Feeding San Diego, Second Harvest of Orange County and Three Square Food Bank in southern Nevada. All three organizations are a part of the Feeding America network, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization dedicated to helping people build a path to a brighter, food-secure future.
Dedicated employees responded by giving to these three food security charities, drawing down the special double-match opportunity, and generating financial support for food assistance in the communities that we serve.
“In our business, we take pride in reliability and, together, finding ways to overcome things that are difficult and unexpected," said Pedro Villegas, director of community relations at SDG&E. "As many people in our communities, through no fault of their own, found themselves suddenly out of work, out of school, isolated, and hungry because of a very difficult and unexpected pandemic, our people continue to show a different side of what it means to be reliable. When our communities need us most, especially in times of uncertainty, we rise to meet the challenge of helping others, without fail. Thank you for your generosity on Giving Tuesday and for once again rallying to improve lives in the communities we serve.”
(Posted Dec. 8) -- Currently, San Diego is experiencing record high numbers of individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. So, this holiday season, our employees are responding to the crisis by providing necessities including food, hygiene items and clothing to community members in need through our SDGivE program.
San Diego Rescue Mission
The San Diego Rescue Mission is dedicated to getting people off the streets permanently with programs designed not only to meet the immediate, tangible necessities of those in need but also to address underlying issues and promote long-term stability and success for San Diego’s homeless community.
A large team of approximately 80 of our employees teamed up to support the San Diego Rescue Mission by contributing to their Amazon Smiles Wishlist and donating new bedding at a drive-through style drop-off event. The bedding will be used primarily at the Nueva Vida Haven (NVH), an emergency shelter for women and children.
NVH provides a safe place to sleep, as well as hot meals, clothing, hygiene products, and access to warm showers each night. Each guest of the shelter receives case management specific to their situation, helping them to determine the best course of action to reach their individual goals. Oftentimes this includes entry into the San Diego Rescue Mission’s long-term recovery program for women and children, Haven of Hope.
Hugs and Bags
Our employees also hosted a remote drive to collect essential hygiene items for homeless children and families in downtown San Diego. The volunteers helped promote the collection drive and assembled bags from home. Items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, diapers, and sanitary items were distributed at the monthly downtown San Diego distribution on Nov. 28.
Hugs & Bags operates primarily in downtown San Diego but is working to establish and maintain a presence throughout San Diego County. Their monthly “Hand-Up” distribution events provide haircuts for veterans and emotional support, meals and necessities for the homeless community.
“Giving back and attending the giveaway event made our team proud of making a difference to lift those in need, especially during these isolating and challenging times," said Nhu Tran, community relations manager at SDG&E.
Stand Up for Kids - San Diego
Another local nonprofit fighting homelessness in our community is Stand Up for Kids. Stand Up for Kids empowers homeless and at-risk youth toward lifelong personal growth. Their mission is to create in these youth a sincere belief in themselves through open, straightforward counseling, mentoring, and life-skills training.
This month, employees are assisting Stand Up for Kids by providing clothing and holiday gifts for children and teens. Our company provided funds to cover the cost of these items and employee volunteers shopped for and delivered them to children in need.
Through SDGivE, more than 300 employees have committed to giving their time, collaborate and celebrate generosity toward the causes that matter to them. Visit our NewsCenter throughout the holiday season for more on the organizations and employees participating in the 2020 SDGivE program.
The safety of the public, our customers, and our employees is our highest priority. In response to Governor Gavin Newsom's "Stay at Home Order," we are encouraging volunteer groups to move to virtual or remote settings and avoid gathering. Thank you for offering your time; there will be plenty more in-person volunteer opportunities once deemed safe to do so.
(Posted Dec. 1) -- Although this holiday season may look different, our commitment to the communities we serve remains the same. Since Tuesday, Dec. 1 has been designated as "Giving Tuesday," we wanted to recognize the continued efforts of our SDGivE program. Through SDGivE, more than 300 employees have committed to giving their time, collaborate and celebrate generosity toward the causes that matter to them. This week, volunteers are dedicating their time and talent to light up the community with holiday spirit and decorations.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
The Ronald McDonald House Charities believe in supporting families around the world and helping them access the medical care and resources they need. Since their inception, they have provided 2.5 million overnight stays for families in need.
Employees decked the halls of the Ronald McDonald House San Diego to make it feel like home for the holidays. Volunteer activities included hanging lights, decorating trees, tying bows and sorting food, toys and countless other generous donations. Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego provides a “home-away-from-home” for families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals.
Vista Hill Foundation
For 14 years, Randy Schimka, principal clean transportation technical solutions advisor at SDG&E, has delighted legions of families with his elaborate holiday lights synchronized to music. Each year, Schimka, a father of two sons with autism, puts on the light display with his older son and the help of his colleagues, which has come to be known as the Belardo Lights Holiday Display.
This labor of love helps raise money for the Vista Hill Foundation Stein Education Center in Mission Valley, which serves children and adults with autism. Donations go toward supporting the center’s two-week-long winter camp, as well as the purchase of educational toys and therapeutic items for kids at Stein. Last year, fans of Belardo Lights donated about $13,000.
The Vista Hill Foundation contributes significantly to helping better the lives of local families affected by Autism and other disabilities.
What’s to come?
‘Tis the holiday season to enjoy spectacular holiday light displays and festive decor. Later this week, employees will also team up with Sports for Exceptional Athletes to support their Drive-Thru Holiday Lights as well as the Water Conservation Garden to bring in the holiday spirit and help set up for a Tree Lighting Ceremony and Garden Nights Holiday Lights Display.
Our employees have put together several more projects that will be taking place through the end of the year to feed those in need, provide gifts and continue to spread holiday cheer! Visit our NewsCenter throughout the holiday season for more on the organizations and employees participating in the 2020 SDGivE program.
(Posted Nov. 24) -- Last year, we created the SDGivE program to support employee volunteer efforts through charitable grants to local non-profit organizations. Although this holiday season may look different, our commitment to serving the community remains the same. This year, more than 300 employees have committed to giving their time, collaborate and celebrate generosity toward the causes that matter to them.
Approximately 35 service projects supporting community-based organizations across San Diego and south Orange Counties will take place in November and December. In addition to time and talent from our employees, each SDGivE partner will receive a $2,000 charitable grant to support their needs this holiday season. Projects range from virtual toy drives to making kindness cards for seniors and active-duty military families to serving holiday meals to those in need.
Here are highlights from some of our employee volunteering projects this week:
Kitchens for Good
Kitchens for Good believes that all food has power and that all people have potential. Now more than ever, Kitchens for Good remains committed to breaking the cycles of food waste, poverty, and hunger in San Diego and addressing the growing need for food assistance in these times of crisis. Our employees volunteered in two shifts for Kitchens for Good’s Hunger Relief Program. The volunteer shifts included weighing, portioning and packaging individual meals for people facing food insecurity. Once packaged, meal partners, including San Diego Food Bank, City Heights CDC, Jewish Family Services, and Elder Help, distributed food to those in need.
Kitchens for Good has been on the frontlines, supporting community members impacted by COVID-19. As a result of COVID-19, they have shifted their operations to scale up the production of hunger relief meals. They have significantly increased their distribution of fresh food to community members and expanded their Hunger Relief Program to provide prepared meals to people in need – seniors, people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations.
Armed Services YMCA
At the Armed Services YMCA Neighborhood Exchange (NEX) Food Distribution, our employees bagged, displayed and distributed Thanksgiving meals feeding active duty military families. The NEX program dedicates its efforts to helping families who meet federal income requirements to stock their cupboards, with this holiday food distribution specifically designed to allow families – who otherwise would not have been able to – to host traditional holiday meals to share the table and celebrate the season with loved ones. Employees also distributed toys to add to the holiday spirit!
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is dedicated to “Doing the Most Good”. The organization’s members and volunteers work together to holistically meet human needs without discrimination. One of the main focuses of its programs is to combat hunger. This holiday season, employees are teaming up with the Salvation Army to pack and distribute ready-made Thanksgiving meals to the community. In compliance with safety protocols, volunteers are also assisting with set up and clean-up of the event, and line monitoring for social distancing.
No one should ever go hungry, and the holidays are no exception. Leading up to Thanksgiving, we are also partnering with:
- Neighborhood House Association to assemble and distribute care baskets at a Thanksgiving Celebration for low income and disabled clients.
- YMCA San Diego County for a Project Turkey Giveaway to hand out turkey dinners to 100 families at the Jackie Robinson YMCA.
- San Diego New Life Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and St. Charles Parish to distribute holiday meals and vouchers for families in need within the Spring Valley, southeast, and south bay San Diego communities.
What’s to come?
Our employees have put together several more projects that will be taking place through the end of the year to feed those in need, provide gifts and spread holiday cheer! Visit the NewsCenter throughout the holiday season for more on the organizations and employees participating in the 2020 SDGivE program.