2016 Toys for Tots Gift Drive

Posted on December 20, 2016, by
2016 Empirehouse Toys for Tots gift drive

Imagine what it’s like to be a child without a gift at Christmas?

That’s what it is like for thousands of children and teens. This year, Empirehouse wanted to do something about this, so we joined a great cause: Toys for Tots.

Video: 2016 Toys for Tots Gift Drive

Empirehouse Toys for Tots Gift Drive

packing-truckdsc_0346On Monday, December 19, we had lots to celebrate when the Marines pulled into our parking lot. Over $8,500 in new, unwrapped toys were donated by Empirehouse employees and our generous suppliers, friends and family for boys, girls, and teens who would normally go without a gift at Christmas. There were so many donations, we wondered if they all would fit in the truck!

Imagine how excited children will be receiving a mountain bike, Razor, skate board, Barbie doll, remote control drone, fishing pole and tackle set, beauty makeover kit, cuddly life-sized teddy bear, NBA basket ball or NFL football, train set, Star Wars Lego set, snow sled, Nerf gun, or fun family board game?

A Community of Generosity
In our first company-wide Toys for Tots gift drive, Empirehouse added a little friendly department competition. While the Product Management and Estimating departments leveraged relationships with our supplies who knocked it out of the park with generous donations, other departments reached out to family and friends whose hearts overflowed with compassion for children in need.

Empirehouse Logistics Coordinator, Molly Merz, shared the Toys for Tots mission with her church family. While she picked up the bags and bags of toy donations, Molly learned that there were a few teens in her congregation whose families couldn’t afford gifts this Christmas. She shared this need with the Empirehouse leadership team who agreed to send Molly back to her church with gifts for each teen in need. What a blessing to these families and to the church who had donated so much for Toys for Tots!

jason-weld-chili-cook-off-winnerChili Cook Off
Other creative ideas to raise donations for new, unwrapped toys included a darn tootin’ chili cook off. Employees from the Project Management, Fabrication, and Field Superintendent teams donated a pot of their favorite homemade chili. Then we invited suppliers, friends, and family to join us for a $10 all-you-can-eat chili feed. It was a tough competition, with 11 unique chilies to taste and place our vote.

Congratulations to Jason Weld whose “Kickin-Chicken Chili” came in first place, followed by Jason Bisping’s “Four-Meat Chili” who missed first place by one vote. Tied for third place were Dave Thorson, who made his direct-and-to-the-point chili named “Chili,” and Blaine Volden’s “Thick n’ Sassy Chili.” Jason Weld received the congratulatory Golden Ladle and bragging rights until next year’s competition.

Let the Shopping Begin!
The Product Management and Estimating departments raised $4,800 in gift cards from our generous suppliers, so a shopping team was formed to purchase new toys. The shoppers had a blast trying out and selecting toys that they knew kids would LOVE! The team wasn’t sure what drew the attention of fellow shoppers: how much fun they had trying out the toys or watching toys spilling out of the heaping shopping carts at the checkout!


Empirehouse shopping volunteers cleared the Target toy shelves on Saturday, December 10.

truck-full-of-donationsCongratulations to the Project Management department for generating the most donations: $380 per department member. Project Assistant, Rachel Yechout said, “The generous donations from our suppliers made this Toys for Tots gift drive a great success!”

We exceeded our $5,000 donation goal. Thank you to Empirehouse employees, generous donations from suppliers, family, and friends.

Just think of all the happy children and teens there will be this Christmas because of your generosity!

Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)

Special thanks to these contributing companies and groups:
Aluma Spec
Beaupre Aerial Equipment
Benson Metals
Berwald Roofing Company
BMO Harris Bank
Brand 2020
Bredemus Hardware
CES Imaging
Class C Components
Division 8 Company
Fastenal Co.
Homeco Insulation
Industrial Louvers
Infinity Access
Infinity Scaffold
Marsh McLellan Agency
Meyer Njus
Parkway United Church of Christ
River City Creative Glass
Rocket Crane Service, Inc.
S&S Sales
Scaffold Service
Spider Lifts
Sun Control
Tee Jay North
The Tads Team
WR Ringheim Co. Inc.

Special thanks to Empirehouse employees and the following people:
Ariel Kendall
Brandon Kirby
Charlene & Gregory Merz
Carol Bulchuck
Dianne Star
Donna & Douglas Fowler
Erik Kern
Janet Goettsch
Jean Olson
Julie Hartfiel
Kathleen Hustad
Kathy Itzin
Kay Leerssen
Kevin Korell
Lonnie Rose
Mada Skare
Michelle Borowicz
Mike Esty
Pat & Jerry Durand
Pam Lenzen
Phil Momont
Stephanie Lee
Steve Opheim
Sue Humprey & Jonah
Victoria Morrison

Merry Christmas!