HMA’s annual toy and food drive produced more than twice the amount of donations than it has in previous years. Special events coordinator Fran Pope said HMA has more than 4,000 employees, and almost all of them gave during the past few weeks, ultimately generating around 4,000 donated items. In past years, the amount has traditionally been around 2,000.
“The Christmas spirit of giving is alive and well this holiday season at Honda,” Pope said. “Despite the tough economic times that we are all facing, our associates have responded in overwhelming fashion this year.”
The drive will benefit charities in each of the five counties that make up HMA’s largest hiring areas. These are Talladega, Calhoun, Etowah, St. Clair and Jefferson counties.
For the first time, this year it was the employees who helped dictate who will receive the donations. They selected charities and other nonprofit organizations within each of the five counties. The choices are being narrowed down while the donations are being sorted and counted.
Associates from all walks of the expansive facility have been giving items for the drive from Nov. 23-Dec. 7. By the end, 10 large crates were filled to the brim with offerings. The drive was split among HMA’s assembly lines so that everyone could get in on the giving.
There was no shortage of the spirit that goes with such giving. HMA associates were more than happy to do their part for the less fortunate.
For example, James Woody of HMA’s new model division said, “Unless someone steps up these children aren’t going to get anything. … They need our help. They didn’t ask to be put in that situation.”
Associate Kim Crawford of parts procurement agreed with this sentiment. “The true meaning of giving is putting someone less fortunate above yourself,” she said.
Employees donated most items individually. Yet, in cases of multiple or larger items such as bicycles, donations were made from within whole departments.
Smaller donations that piled past the bins’ edges included everything from non-perishable foods to toys and games plus some extra goodies.
The drive has traditionally focused on food or toys but got some bonus additions this year.
During the planning stages, Pope contacted local human resources departments. Upon finding out the areas’ greatest needs included baby items and toiletries, such items were encouraged among the donors.
The result is that many more babies in need of diapers and blankets won’t be left without. For older family members, there were donations of things like toothbrushes and soap.
Pope said communities were in need of everyday items that many take for granted, “so we did add a little extra to that area.
“Our associates are aware of the ongoing economic crisis and understand the need for charitable contributions is much greater for local agencies than in years past. That’s why we are extremely proud that our donation bins are overflowing,” she said.
Michelle Coleman of quality analysis at HMA works with many of the donors and said the support this year was overwhelming.
The final charities to receive these donations are being decided. Pope said the decisions will be made quickly and the deliveries will begin on Friday.