Local Organizations, Companies, and Community Members Support Students through 18 Projects during 2021 Season of Service
If the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes during the holidays, ours grew four as we watched the Salt Lake community come together to support Utah students through United Way of Salt Lake’s annual Season of Service.
This year, nine companies, one United Way of Salt Lake donor network, and countless individuals helped fulfill wish lists that supported 18 schools, community organizations, and programs across the Wasatch Front. The projects all focused on ensuring that kids have the supplies they need to be successful in school this winter.
In total, our community donated 3,644 pairs of socks, 580 books, 450 hygiene kits, 179 coats, 150 tubs of Play-Doh, 142 pairs of boots, 42 hijabs, and 11 pairs of snow pants.
Here’s an in-depth look at some of this year’s projects:
Greystar Donated Coats and Shoes to Students at 4 Elementary Schools
As we started to enter the cold-weather season, it was apparent to many principals and school staff that not all the students owned good shoes or a winter jacket. David Gourley Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Mill Creek Elementary, and Western Hills Elementary asked for a combined 200 pairs of boots and 250 coats.
Anna Jones, the Marketing Manager with Greystar, rallied her fellow co-workers, as well as those living in 23 different Greystar Apartment locations, to donate 116 coats, 60 pairs of boots, hundreds of pairs of socks, and some beanies.
“It is a great feeling to know the Season of Service is helping kids in our local area,” Jones says. “The success [of our drive] is due to collective giving and involving everyone in our circles of influence.”
On November 30th, the team came together to count and sort the materials before they were delivered to local schools.
“We know our most vulnerable population may not have the warm gear needed to brave the elements. I am delighted to help keep local kids warm and cozy during this holiday season,” Jones adds.
Dominion’s Latino Resource Group Donates Books for Bilingual Little Libraries
In September, Flor Cuevas, a United Way of Salt Lake Grassroots Fellow, installed a free little library in front of West Kearns Elementary. As part of Season of Service, they asked for people to donate books that will be used to stock the library.
Dominion Energy’s Latino employee resource group (ERG), ¡hola!, donated all the books left on the wish list as well as a gift card to purchase more books at a later date.
“We are always looking for opportunities to give back to the communities we serve,” says Jeremy Arends, a supervisor for Dominion Energy’s customer service center. “Our employee resource groups at Dominion Energy serve as important conduits to help strengthen our connection to these communities. We loved the idea of helping West Kearns Elementary’s Biblioteca Comunitaria acquire more Spanish books, and our ¡hola! ERG was excited to assist with this wonderful opportunity.”
Some of the books they donated included National Geographic Readers: Las Hormigas (National Geographic Readers: The Ant), Dragones y tacos (Dragons and Tacos), and Las Aventuras del Capitán Calzoncillos (The Adventures of Captain Underpants).
“One of our main goals with the ¡hola! ERG is reach out to Hispanic and Latino organizations and partner with them on meaningful projects that create value and impact for those communities,” Arends says. “Being able to help provide Spanish books is something that will have lifelong impact on these childrens’ lives. We were incredibly excited to hear about this opportunity and happy we were able to assist!”
10 Businesses and Large Groups Adopted Projects
After putting the call out to the community, eight businesses, one donor network group, and one group of friends each chose to adopt a project and meet nearly all the needs of a particular school.
- American Insurance, Edwards Lifesciences, and Women United teamed up to provide 850 students with hygiene kits.
- Dominion Energy’s ¡hola! Employee Resource Group donated books for West Kearns Elementary’s Free Little Library.
- Greystar provided coats and shoes for students at David Gourley, Mill Creek Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, and Western Hills Elementary.
- Maria Millett hosted a drive on her Instagram, where she collected donations from her friends and used them to purchase books and toys for the students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.
- McNeill’s Towing gave snow pants to the students at Lincoln Elementary.
- Molina Healthcare donated socks to the students of Moss Elementary as well as books and socks to the students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.
- LSI made sure all 545 students at West Kearns Elementary had new socks for the new year.
- Wasatch Electric collected socks for the students at South Kearns Elementary.
- United Way of Salt Lake’s Women United Donor Network fundraised to provide hijabs to Midvale Elementary students and parents who need them, plus gave Play-Doh to the school’s resource center.
Thank you to everyone who was part of this year’s Season of Service. To get involved with our other Year of Action events, visit uw.org/volunteer.