By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– For the employees of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, this holiday season has special meaning.
Like many local businesses, Ranchos has a tradition of holiday giving. In recent years, the company has partnered with the Apple Valley Fire Protection District to sponsor a Secret Santa program for local under-privileged children. This year the company decided to ask the employees: “How should Ranchos give back to our community for the holidays?”
The employees responded enthusiastically with a variety of suggestions for charities close to their hearts, with an emphasis on veterans, the elderly, and especially children in need. Then, the “wish list” of holiday caring was put into action.
With guidance from their colleagues, a small team of Ranchos employees, headed by Business Administration Manager Kristin Huffman, arranged partnerships and donations to benefit a variety of local community organizations. The spirit of giving even extended beyond the company’s giving to Ranchos’ employees personally contributing toys and cash for various children’s causes.
“Our employees brought us the community needs that are most important to them,” said Huffman. “We were able to reach out to hundreds of people this year in small ways, with meals or shoes or toys and we hope we’ve added some joy to their holidays. It was certainly rewarding for us.”
Ranchos’ employees contributed to a number of community organizations and holiday events, including the CHiPs 4 Kids toy drive, the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, Apple Valley Unified School District’s New Shoe Bank, the Barstow Sheriff’s station toy drive, and the United Way programs benefitting veterans and the elderly.
The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation’s Cooper Home cares for children who have been victims of abuse or neglect. Margaret Netcell, Operations Manager for the Foundation, noted that the holidays are an emotional and difficult time for the children at Cooper Home. “It’s a time when you want to be with your friends and family, and unfortunately, most of these kids can’t go home,” said Netcell.
Through the efforts of Ranchos employees, each of the children will receive gift cards for a shopping trip.
Earlier this year, Ranchos officially took over operation of the water system in Yermo, a small community east of Barstow. The Sheriff’s station in Barstow, in connection with the local fire department, holds a holiday toy drive, and Ranchos employees coordinated a special donation of toys for distribution in Yermo. Analeah Leon-Guerrero, a Sheriff Custody Assistant at the Barstow Station, helped coordinate Ranchos’ involvement.
“Our funds are super low this year,” Leon-Guerrero said. “It’s been hard for people to donate. We were seriously wondering how we were going to manage this year.”
Additionally, Ranchos employees randomly selected 40 customers with various hardships in Apple Valley to receive holiday food baskets containing items for a traditional holiday dinner, as well as a grocery store voucher for a turkey. Twenty baskets were given out for Thanksgiving, and an additional twenty will be distributed in time for Christmas.
The employees also reached into their own pockets to buy new bicycles and helmets for several under-privileged children, and the company matched their donations. The Apple Valley Unified School District and Yermo School worked closely with Ranchos’ staff to identify the deserving children and coordinate the giving with their parents.
About Apple Valley Ranchos: Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. delivers reliable, quality water service to about 63,000 people in the Town of Apple Valley and parts of San Bernardino County. Ranchos Water is a subsidiary of Park Water Co., based in Los Angeles County, which provides contracted and regulated water utility services. In addition to Ranchos Water, Park Water owns Mountain Water Co. serving Missoula, Montana. Park Water and its subsidiaries provide safe, reliable drinking water service to approximately 300,000 people.
For more information on Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co., please visit www.avrwater.com and applevalleywaterfacts.com, or follow Ranchos on Facebook.