By Matt Nauman
SAN FRANCISCO – For PG&E employees, giving back to their communities is a year-round commitment. But the pace of that volunteer spirit certainly expands as the holidays approach.
From the Oregon border to Bakersfield, PG&E employees have been donating to food banks, delivering Christmas trees and lights and participating in dozens of other activities. A quick tally shows that PG&E employees have or will volunteer more than 1,500 hours at 85 different events during this holiday season.
Here’s a look at two holiday volunteer events that took place in San Francisco.
Firefighters Toy Program: Bringing gifts to children in need
The leaders of PG&E’s IT team recently spent a morning helping out with the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. It’s the city’s largest and oldest such program. Last year, more than 40,000 children got more than 200,000 toys as a result of donations.
Giving back has long been important to Karen Austin, PG&E’s chief information officer and a company senior vice president.
“We put together a thousand bags for the needy children in San Francisco,” she said. “We did footballs and toothbrushes for boys and Barbie dolls and toothbrushes for girls.”
Besides helping sort toys, the PG&E crew got to decorate one of the vintage fire trucks that are used to distribute and collect toy barrels during the holiday season. The program not only serves individual families in need, it supports many community organizations, including shelters for abused women and children, inner-city schools, children’s cancer wards, and pediatric AIDS units.
St. Anthony’s: A hot meal and warm clothes
And, last week, the utility’s Corporate Affairs team spent at afternoon at St. Anthony’s, which helps fulfill many immediate needs from a hot meal to warm clothes in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.
Over the last 62 years, St. Anthony’s has served 39 million meals, said spokesman Karl Robillard. About 80 percent of those who use St. Anthony’s services are living on less than $100 a month.
“We really look to community partners,” Robillard said. “PG&E has been a wonderful partner.”
The PG&E volunteers sorted clothing and put together thousands of gift bags that included socks, toiletries and other items.
Others prepared holiday cards to go with the 5,000 to 7,000 hand-knitted scarves that have been donated to St. Anthony’s from people around the world. They’ll be given out over the holidays.
“The project touches the heartstrings of a lot of people,” said Dolores Gould, the outreach and engagement coordinator at St. Anthony’s. “It’s one gift from one knitter to one person.”
PG&E employees are taking time during this holiday season to do this throughout the company’s service area.
Greg Pruett, PG&E’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, said it’s an essential part of what PG&E does.
“Today’s event at St. Anthony’s represents just one event of a multitude that we do throughout the year,” he said. “Our employees in 2012 will give more than 35,000 volunteer hours of their time giving back to communities and our Campaign for the Community hit an all-time high this year with employees giving more than $6 million.”
Email Matt Nauman at firstname.lastname@example.org.