Giving Back at the Holidays

The holidays can be very hard for families in need, especially those with young children Holiday Toy Drive 2019at home. Chris Divens, a Utility Electrician Technician here at Silicon Valley Power, feels fortunate for what he has and looks for ways to give back to the community. For the past 4 years, he has been organizing a holiday toy drive among employees at Silicon Valley Power through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Giving Program and the Christmas Toy and Joy program.

Under the Angel Tree Giving Program, a tree is placed inside our Electric Yard and decorated with gift tags showing the age and gender of a child in need of a gift, as well as an idea of what they would like to receive. Employees select a child to sponsor and return the tag with an unwrapped gift. For those who do not want to shop for a specific child, the Toy and Joy program allows employees to donate unwrapped presents for children ages twelve and under. These are used to create a store where families in need have an opportunity to “shop” for presents for their children at no cost. For some families, these toys are the only ones their children will receive for the holidays, so the donations are especially impactful.

Chris is thankful for the support of management, and for the help from his colleagues who contribute to making this effort a success each year. It truly is a team effort. Office Specialist Stephanie Entizne helps to get the word out to fellow employees by creating flyers to post around the departments and on the utility’s internal digital message board. Tony Valdez, an Electric Substation Maintenance Worker, helps to coordinate receipt, placement and pick up of the collection barrels. When Chris was out due to a motorcycle accident one year, Division Manager Greg Garcia stepped in to coordinate the effort so that it would continue in Chris’ absence.

Some of our employees grew up in homes where they didn’t have much and lived paycheck to paycheck, so they say that this effort is especially close to their hearts. It gives all of our employees an opportunity to join together to help those in need within our community and to help brighten the holidays for people who are struggling this year. Through these efforts, we have collected 440 toys and 540 pounds of food. We appreciate the effort that Chris puts into organizing what has become an annual tradition of holiday giving for Silicon Valley Power employees.