Each year, Southwire’s 23 Project GIFT locations participate in donating school supplies to their local communities. In total, the company donated more than 22,000 bags throughout North America. The following locations are just a few of the incredible Project GIFT teams that made an impact in 2018.
2018 marked the 14th annual Back to School (BTS) event that the west Georgia Project GIFT team has hosted for their community. More than 3,500 bags of school supplies were distributed during the event, and the remaining bags were donated to local non-profit organizations. “I never get tired of watching those sweet, smiling faces walk out of the main tent so excited to carry their very own bag of school supplies,” said Kristian Whittington, manager of employee engagement and Giving Back coordinator. The event was hosted on July 14 to kick off the Southwire BTS initiative and saw more than 100 volunteers. In total, the event served nearly 3,000 attendees that represented more than 160 local schools.
On July 27, 22 Blackshirts from Douglas, Ga., distributed 2,000 school supply bags for their Back to School event, which took place at the Central Square Complex Gym, located in downtown Douglas. Their event featured many other activities for those participating including haircuts, eye exams, backpacks and fire safety lessons. “I really enjoyed seeing the kids’ happy faces and the Blackshirts coming together for the event,” said Angie Ragsdale, Giving Back coordinator. “Our Blackshirts are working very hard this year to win the Kim Meeks Award. We have recruited a lot of new employees and they are loving being a part of such a great team.”
Starkville distributed 1,500 bags to their community on July 28. The event was held in the plant’s parking lot and boasted 30 volunteers. The talk of the event was the prize given to the 25th car in line at the Starkville campus. The winners, two twin girls, received two backpacks stuffed with additional supplies and two $75 gift cards. “We all had a great time giving out bags and interacting with the kids,” said Rochelle Harris, Giving Back coordinator. “It was such a success that we had given out all of the bags before the event’s scheduled end at noon.”
Nearly 1,500 bags of school supplies were given out at Florence’s Back to School event on July 28, at the field next to their building wire plant. Fifteen Blackshirts volunteered for the event which featured free food, face painting, fire safety lessons and a bouncy house for the children. Florence also had small door prizes and hid apples within many of the bags given out. Whoever found an apple in their bag was given a gift card to complete their back to school shopping. “We try to make this event bigger and bigger every year and this year we had the biggest crowd yet,” said Amanda Berry, Giving Back coordinator. “I would like to see more of our community participate in the future so that we can continue to reach out to those who need it.”
Hawesville, Kentucky’s Project GIFT team was able to provide their local community with 1,000 Back to School (BTS) bags at their BTS event on July 28. Twenty-six Blackshirts volunteered, including Donnie Sanders, Giving Back coordinator. The Kentucky team partnered with their local school system, Hancock County School System, to participate in this event, which was held at the Hancock County Fairground. “My favorite part of the event was seeing our volunteers serving with their families,” said Sanders. “We had a lot of volunteers and a lot of people show up, so it was a good day.”
Southwire’s Denton, Texas plant hosted their Back to School (BTS) event on August 11th as a part of the Denton BTS Fair. The Project GIFT team gave out 800 bags and partnered with suppliers who donated additional hand sanitizer, plastic rulers and boxes of Kleenex. Other sponsors donated financially to help Southwire provide backpacks with the school supplies that they gave out. According to Sal Avila-Sanchez, Human Resources manager, more than 3,000 students pre-registered for the event. “We shared the recently built Gateway Center, at the University of North Texas, where many other local organizations also provided education and services to serve over 1,500 families,” said Avila-Sanchez. “We were proud to represent Southwire.”