District Employees Make a Difference This Holiday Season

Employee Committee membersEmployee committee members Audra Owens-Powell, senior human resources specialist; Yassert Gonzalez, economist; Tammy Antoine, water conservation analyst; Chan Springstead, planner; Cindy Ortiz, senior administrative assistant; Josie Guillen, administrative assistant 2; and Darlene Johnson, senior administrative assistant, with the gifts for the children of the “adopted families.”

For the thirteenth year, District employees have helped make the holidays brighter for hundreds of people.

The District has more than 700 employees who work in Brooksville, Bartow, Tampa and Sarasota. Employees volunteer their time and donate money to help support a variety of charitable organizations throughout the year, but the greatest support comes during the holiday season.

The District’s employee committee coordinates the holiday season benevolent efforts, which begin in the fall with an auction to raise funds for the “adopt-a-family” program that helps employees, their families and their friends and neighbors. This year’s auction, which included a pumpkin raffle, raised $6,254.25. The funds were used to help 29 families who were anonymously referred to the committee. Each family received a Wal-Mart gift certificate and $50 in gifts per child.

In Brooksville, Sarasota and Tampa, staff sponsored 24 foster children and held food and personal care drives. The foster children received Christmas presents. The food drives benefited the Arcadia Center for the Needy and the Dawn Center of Hernando County. Approximately 600 pounds of food and personal care items were collected for the Arcadia Center for the Needy, along with clothing, toys, books, household items and artificial Christmas trees. Approximately 700 pounds of food and personal care items were collected for the Dawn Center.

In Bartow, staff held a Thanksgiving and Christmas food drive for Bartow Church Services and sponsored 17 children from an angel tree. The children received Christmas presents and dinner for their families. Bartow staff also participated in “Pennies for the Poor,” which involves collecting spare change to give to a family that needs something extra this year.

As part of the District’s Support Our Troops efforts, care packages were sent to deployed soldiers. The care packages included homemade treats such as cookies, brownies, fudge and Rice Krispies treats. At other times of the year, the packages include snacks, reading material and new socks.