Today was a rainy and gloomy day for most people in town, but for Kim and me, it was a warm and fuzzy day knowing that a few more families will celebrate Christmas with a beautiful Christmas tree in their homes this year. I am Reimi Okuyama, the new AmeriCorps volunteer here at United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area and this is my third week at my job as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) coordinator. To learn a little bit more about United Way and what we do in the community, I tagged along with Kim this morning to deliver Christmas trees around town.
Each year, Target Stores donate several Christmas trees that are on display in their store to local United Ways. Our fabulous Target in Hollymead shopping center generously donated ALL of their trees on display, totaling 27 Christmas trees that ranged from a foot high to one that was 9 ft tall!
Our morning began by meeting up with a wonderful manager from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ryan McKillip, who had offered to help deliver the trees in a box truck. We met up at Target and along with the help of Target team members we quickly took down and boxed the ornaments, and loaded the trees onto the truck. From there, we traveled to the Housing Authority’s Community Center at South 1st Street, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail (for families of those incarcerated and one for the jail’s community room), and the Boys & Girls Club branches at Southwood Community Center and Washington Park and delivered trees in the rain.
Even though this holiday season has been difficult for many people due to our struggling economy, today we were able to give some families a somewhat permanent present, a gift that keeps on giving. Since the trees are spectacular yet artificial, families and community centers will be able to use them year after year, remembering the ups and downs of the past year, yet rejoicing at the reunion of family and friends. and even more of the charitable spirit in our community during the holiday season. Many thanks to Ryan at Enterprise, Jenny Orrock and her team members at Target, and most of all to Kim for showing me why it feels so warm and fuzzy working here at United Way - Thomas Jefferson Area!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Posted by Reimi Okuyama
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