When Woods Insurance Service employees first started working with Childhaven in Farmington, New Mexico, they got their feet wet - literally - by manning a “bubble booth” at a fundraiser.
Then they decided to really dive in.
“After a couple of years supporting them through donations and other activities, we wanted to do more personally,” said personal lines agent Patty Townley. “We were looking for a hands-on effort, one that would involve more interaction with the children that Childhaven serves.”
The organization’s mission is to “lift children from crisis to hope,” according to Jamie Church, development director. Childhaven offers a variety of programs to help children through age 17, who are victims of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Their services include an emergency shelter that provides more than 6,300 nights of care annually, court-appointed special advocates, access to healthcare, and more.
“More” includes providing meals to these vulnerable children, and this year Woods Insurance staffers went beyond “hands-on” — it was an “aprons-on” effort, too.
Staff from Woods Insurance Service get together once a month to buy, cook and serve dinner to the kids at Childhaven.
“We made a six-month commitment to serve Sunday dinners to the children in Childhaven’s crisis center,” Townley said. “Every department of our agency alternated and put a different spin on each week. We created a menu, purchased the ingredients, prepared the food, and served it at their facility on our own time.”
The kids at the center were delighted, Church said. “Both our shelter cook and program director tell me how much this program is appreciated — by both the children and our staff. Everyone loves it when the Woods Insurance team comes in.”
The volunteers love it, too. “It was a joy to see the interaction between our employees and the kids, especially since the participation was agency-wide,” Townley said. “Most important, these dinners bring some much-needed joy to these children, and a little relief from their current circumstances.”
Collecting school supplies for the kids at Childhaven is another way that Woods Insurance gives back.
A Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award will help Childhaven continue to provide that relief. The honor comes with a donation of up to $10,000 to the Childhaven Foundation from Safeco on behalf of Woods Insurance Service.
The donation will be the lead gift in the “Pledge for Children” campaign, Church said.
The Woods Insurance team, meanwhile, isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon. “Our relationship with Childhaven, and the special little souls who temporarily call it home, is ongoing,” Townley said.
“These children are teaching us that unconditional love and sacrifice, even in the smallest of ways, can impact a life well into the future.”
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