HCWA Cares About Its Community
At the end of each year, the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) provides employees various opportunities to get involved in the community and give back to individuals and organizations, locally, in support of worthwhile causes.
The “HCWA Cares” initiative is the Authority’s payroll deduction donor program. After surveying HCWA employees on how they would like payroll deductions to be dispersed, the Authority selected Caring for a Cause, the Haven House, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Henry County Cancer Services, and A Friend’s House, as the “HCWA Cares” beneficiaries this year.
But the water professionals at the HCWA care for local families in many other ways, too, in addition to making financial contributions to select causes and non-profits. For starters, employees who live in Henry County are setting a good example through their participation in the Authority’s Charitable Assistance Program (CAP), which allows HCWA customers the opportunity to “round up” their monthly bill to help others in need.
HCWA employees also contribute their time and money to non-profits and local charities outside of work all throughout the year, but especially during the recent holiday season.
For example, employees from the HCWA Engineering Department provide additional donations to A Friend’s House, Henry County’s shelter for children in crisis. The employees gather and deliver collections of food monthly for current residents, who have the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic to navigate right now.
HCWA employees also provided these children a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings, with contributions even coming from some HCWA customers.
During the Christmas holiday, HCWA employees provided 20 totes/containers for A Friend’s House. The totes store conveniently under the bed to provide storage for the children during the school year. The HCWA Engineering Department also organized a Christmas gift collection for two Angel Tree kids from the Salvation Army.
A Friend’s House is dedicated to meeting the emotional and physical needs of children who have experienced child abuse, neglect or abandonment. According to data from the Henry County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), Henry County averages over 300 of these cases each month.
“The people at A Friend’s House are always grateful for food donations for their residents, so we decided it would be a great idea to start collecting in our office, and we plan to continue providing assistance indefinitely,” says Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator. “So, we welcome any non-perishable goods from our employees or customers; there is a donation box in the Engineering Building (on the HCWA headquarters campus).”
Other groups of employees and departments at the Water Authority reflect the spirit of how HCWA Cares, too. The Information Technology (IT) employees, for example, have donated gift cards this past fall that have afforded the purchase of groceries, meals, date nights, diapers, wipes, bottles, baby monitors, blankets, clothes, gas, and more, for foster families, locally. And the ultimate payoff for these Authority employees is that their kindness has helped facilitate the adoption of five children most recently, including a pair of sisters of one foster family, a little boy with another, and two other adoptions prior to these. Other potential adoptions by foster families are forthcoming, thanks to the support and encouragement they receive from HCWA employees.
HCWA Water & Sewer Operations Maintenance (WSOM) is another department that was active in organizing charitable assistance during the Christmas holiday. In this instance, employees helped provide Christmas for a local family with five children, after their mother passed away from breast cancer. The employees became aware of the family’s circumstances after being notified by a friend who is a hospice nurse.
A collection of HCWA employees also provided presents for a drive-thru Christmas Party organized through the Lovejoy Family Church of the Nazarene. Typically, employees have donated and volunteered for the Royal Family Kids Camp sponsored by the Church, but that means of outreach – like so many during 2020 – was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“This past year has been marked by adversity and hardships for so many, but I’m so proud of our employees for their selfless acts of heartfelt contributions to a number of great causes and organizations,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “Where the pandemic might have cancelled something, instead of just waiting it out, our employees found other, sometimes additional, avenues to serve. I think these activities and contributions reflect the spirit of our ‘HCWA Cares’ initiative. The bottom line is our people want to give back to their community that means so much to them.”
Chris Wood, Ph.D.