Y-12 employees help make holiday merrier for many

Posted: December 21, 2012 - 9:00am

Nearly 50 workers at the Y‑12 National Security Complex served as Santa’s elves in the Y‑12 Employees’ Society’s 2012 Angel Tree program. The society collaborates with various charitable agencies to help provide holiday gifts for families deemed eligible for assistance by their county’s Department of Human Services.

The elves, working with donations provided by hundreds of Y‑12 co-workers, did the additional footwork needed to fulfill the holiday gift wishes of 497 children in Anderson, Roane, Morgan, Loudon, Scott and Monroe Counties. Coordinated this year by Y‑12 employee Jessica Smith, the program is now in its seventh year. This year the Angel Tree program committed to serving up to 500 children.

The adoption campaign typically begins in early November. Interested Y‑12 employees adopt and shop for children identified by the agencies or make donations so that elves can shop for identified children who are not adopted. Other elves collect, sort and deliver the gifts to the agencies, who then deliver them to the families. Gifts are in the hands of parents by mid-December.

Wish lists over the years often reflect passing trends, but hopes for bicycles have remained constant. Last year, employees in the company’s analytical chemistry organization decided they would raise funds via candy sales specifically for the purchase of the classic item. They netted more than $1,000 in just a little over two months.

Buoyed by last year’s success, the employees expanded their efforts and kicked off their 2012 fund-raising campaign with a “Christmas in July” candy sale. A strategically placed candy-filled bowl made the appeal: Donate one dollar to the Angel Tree and receive three snack-size candy bars. Ice cream sales, bake sales and more candy sales followed. By the end of the campaign in November, more than $1,800 had been raised.

According to program coordinator Smith, the organization’s donation was enough to fulfill more than 80 percent of the 2012 Angel Tree program’s bicycle requests. A total of 44 new bicycles in an assortment of sizes ranging from 10-speed bikes to those with training wheels was purchased. Each bicycle recipient also received a bicycle helmet.

Other popular wish-list items were princess dolls, wrestling action figures, and cosmetics. Some lists were for clothing only. Perhaps the most touching list was from a child whose only desire was to have a hula hoop. Employee Cathy Burdette, who is credited with the idea to help fulfill the Angel Tree program’s need for bicycles, reflected, “We feel that we are blessed to have good jobs and are able to do this.”

Follow Y-12 on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.