Capco Steel Partners With Salvation Army To Help “Angels”
For the fortunate, Christmas is
typically a time brimming with all the splendors of the season: joyful
festivities, dazzling decorations, family traditions, merry music, tasty
treats, piles of presents, and plenty of holiday cheer. However, there are many
across the country who dread Christmas time due to unfavorable financial
situations and/or living arrangements. Unfortunately, gift-less Christmas
mornings have been the sad reality of those impoverished families and their
Thankfully, there are programs in
place that can help low income families throughout the United States have
brighter Christmases. One of those is The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program,
which was started in 1979.
According to the non-profit
organization’s website, www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/brighten-the-holidays, its
Angel Tree program enables The Salvation Army to “put new clothes and toys
under the tree for one million children who usually have to go without
Recipients of Angel Tree gifts are
from families who have applied for Christmas assistance through The Salvation
Army’s social services program. More specifically, the “angels” are from low
income households, foster care, group homes, nursing homes, and assisted living
facilities. Each qualifying individual is assigned a paper tag in the shape of
an angel. On the angel tag is the recipient’s first name, age, gender,
clothing/shoe size, and desired item.
The angel tags are hung as ornaments
on Christmas trees in businesses, churches, and other participating
organizations until donors select them, purchase items listed on them, and
return them with their corresponding donations.
Capco’s Angel Tree For many donors, purchasing gifts for “angels” from an Angel Tree has become a heart-warming holiday tradition. Such is the case for Kelli Hart of San Antonio-based Capco Steel Inc., who’s family has been “adopting” angels for five years. She presented the idea of having an Angel Tree in the company’s office to Capco’s management team for the 2017 holiday season. And the owners of Capco Steel, Charles and Julie Plunkett, an altruistic couple with a soft spot for children, loved the notion.
Hart reached out to The
Salvation Army’s San Antonio chapter to coordinate an Angel Tree for Capco’s
office. The company initially received 40 angel tags to place on the Christmas
tree in its front office. After they were hung with care, emails describing the
program were sent to Capco’s employees, suppliers, and subcontractors.
“The first 40 were
adopted within a week,” recalls Hart. “We were overwhelmed with the response;
we had to scramble to get more angels.” The Salvation Army was able to add 20
more tags to Capco’s Angel Tree.
Of Capco’s 60 angels, 58
were children and two were seniors.
“While there was a wide
range of wants and needs, there were lots of requests for educational toys,”
says Hart, “which was nice to see.”
Hart’s family chose three
tags: one tag for each of her two children, who wanted to shop for angels with
similar interests, and one angel tag for a senior who simply wanted warm winter
clothing. Her children picked out a Build-A-Bear maker and a Hot Wheels race
track for their angels of comparable ages.
The Plunketts took two
tags: Charles picked a five-year-old girl who wanted a bicycle and Julie selected
a three-year-old boy who requested an educational Leap Frog toy. Clothes and
shoes were purchased for their angels as well.
Charles, who enlisted
the help of a fellow shopper and her young daughter when choosing his angel’s
bike to ensure that he was buying an age-appropriate size and style, thoroughly
enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to the 2018 giving season.
three-week duration of its Angel Tree program, Capco Steel made three trips
with a moving truck to deliver donations to The Salvation Army’s warehouse.
“With 12 bicycles for children ages two to 12, we ran out of space fast,” notes
Hart, who adds that, for her, it is was especially endearing to see one
particularly gruff contractor drop off a make-up kit that he had purchased for
the female angel he had adopted.
What’s more, before the Dec. 12th deadline, the Plunketts and their team made sure no angel would be left out. Charles shopped for the remaining angels, as did Nicholas Bergmann, senior project manager, who purchased various athletic balls and sports toys.
Overall, the Plunketts
and Hart were thrilled with the company’s contribution and the benevolence of
its employees, suppliers, and subcontractors. Hart reckons that the Angel Tree
program helps people remember the true purpose of the season: giving. And giving
is surely sweeter when the recipients are underprivileged children and their
families. “Spoiled kids don’t know the wonderment of new toys,” she says,
adding that some donors who took their own children shopping used the Angel
Tree program as a learning experience, explaining to them how their angels’
circumstances differ from their own. This, in turn, encouraged them to be more
appreciative of their Christmas gifts and more comfortable home lives. It also
fosters understanding and compassion—the makings of a charitable spirit.
According to its
website, www.salvationarmysanantonio.org/angel-tree, in
San Antonio, Texas, more than 8,000 children benefit from its Angel Tree
Pay It Forward “Julie and I have always been interested in helping people,” says
Charles, who mentions that the couple participates in various children’s
programs throughout the year at their church. Julie, who serves as a board
member for a charity, states that they also sponsor a table at the annual
Construct A Kid’s Christmas Gala in San Antonio, where attendees bring new toys
for seats at the tables. Construct A Kid’s Christmas is a nonprofit
organization that was established in 2000 by the construction industry.
While this was Capco’s first time
collaborating with The Salvation Army and its Angel Tree program, it’s safe to
say that it won’t be the company’s last. As a matter of fact, the Plunketts would
like to “add to it” in 2018. In a press release about the program, the company
states, “ … they hope to continue to develop a strong relationship, growing
each year to ensure that every child is reminded of the magic of the holiday
After witnessing a bit of the Angel
Tree program’s inner workings at The Salvation Army’s warehouse, Hart is
convinced that volunteering would be a great way for the company to get more
involved. “So many people put so much time and thought into it,” she says,
noting that there are volunteers who create the angel tags, sort the gifts,
match the gifts, deliver the gifts, assemble bicycles, and more. “It would be
nice to see it in action and provide assistance.”
The Plunketts agree. Actually,
they are in favor of permitting Capco’s employees to volunteer during work
hours. So much so that they recently distributed an updated employee handbook
that encourages volunteerism by providing individuals with up to 16 hours of
paid volunteer time.
“Volunteering would be
great,” says Charles, “and we’d allow them to go on work time. We’re all about
helping the community …”
Plunketts are attempting to “pay it forward” while creating a culture shift
within Capco Steel. And their plan is simple: Expose Capco’s employees to philanthropy
and hope it’s infectious.
Hart couldn’t be happier
about the culture being cultivated at Capco. “I’m lucky to work for a larger
company that still has a small business feel and to work with caring people,”
she says. “Giving makes a difference. Challenge others to do the same; it
creates a domino effect.”
An unremitting ripple of
goodwill is precisely what the Plunketts want to initiate. They aren’t seeking
recognition, nor are they motivated by it. They give back purely for the
personal satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped make a difference in the lives
of others, and they are optimistic that Capco Steel’s charitable giving will
‘Tis Always The Season! Perhaps Bob Hope said it best: “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
Indeed, we do not need to wait for the holiday to be in the spirit of giving. In particular, The Salvation Army has several year-round programs in place, operates thrift shops, and accepts donations. For more information about its opportunities to serve, visit www.salvationarmy.org.
Erica Shatzer is the editor of Mini-Storage Messenger, Self-Storage Now!, and Self-Storage Canada.