Employees ‘adopt’ kids instead of office gift exchange | RecordCourier.com

Employees ‘adopt’ kids instead of office gift exchange

by Heidi Alder, Staff Writer

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in the office of Syncon Homes off Airport Road in Minden.

Instead of having a White Elephant employee gift exchange at their company Christmas party, employees bought gifts for needy children, Tammy Davis said.

Davis is administrative assistant and helped to organize the effort.

“Susan (Hanly) was really the one who started the whole thing,” said Carol Kiel, sales and marketing manager. Hanly is the wife of Chip Hanly who owns Syncon Homes and she presented the idea to employees at the company.

“It all started with a phone call to the Family Support Council,” Davis said.

The Family Support Council gave Syncon Homes the names of 14 families, but Davis realized that the company had enough employees to adopt more.

“They called me back and wanted more,” said Lois Pruneau, coordinator of domestic niolence and sexual assault prevention at the Family Support Council. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s just wonderful.”

Davis received the names and ages of children in three more families, making their total 17 for Carson Valley.

“We needed 40 children because we had 40 employees coming to the party,” Davis said.

Their party was Dec. 2 at Walley’s Hot Springs and the turn-out was fantastic, she said.

“We gave each employee the age and sex of a child. They all did a fabulous job with picking their gifts and being very generous with what they brought,” Davis said. “We didn’t put a price limit on the gifts. It was everyone’s personal choice of what they thought they could give, and everyone was very generous.”

They separated all the gifts into families and found that some children had two presents and some had one. Susan and Chip Hanly personally evened it out so all the kids would have two presents, Davis said.

Syncon Homes builds homes in Douglas County and Carson City, so employees decided to do something in Carson as well.

They contacted Carson City School District’s Children in Transition Program for more families, Davis said.

They chose two families who didn’t have anything for Christmas, and bought Christmas trees, lights, stockings, presents and food gift certificates for them, Davis said.

“I had the opportunity to speak to a representative of one family, and they were extremely ecstatic over what we’d done,” Davis said. “That was a very, very good feeling.”

With everything said and done, there were at least 100 gifts for the 40 children from the Family Support Council and about 30 gifts for the five children from Carson, Davis said.

In addition, Chip Hanley and Syncon Homes donated 40 gift certificates for Raley’s to Gardnerville Elementary School and 40 gift certificates for the Family Support Council.

“We were ecstatic with the turn-out,” Davis said. “We can’t wait to see what happens next year.”

“We plan to make next year bigger and better than ever, and anyone who’s interested in helping in any way can give us a call,” Kiel said. “Even if they can’t make a personal money contribution, they can give time to shop or wrap gifts.”

“We’d like to do things during the year, too,” Davis said. “We’d like to invite the community to get involved as well.”

“It is during the holidays that the needs of families in our communities become even more obvious to the public,” Susan Hanly said. “We would like to encourage everyone to join us in support of these organizations all year round.”

“There are so many individuals who need assistance that a company such as ours can only make a small dent in the overall picture. But we are committed to making our contribution, not only at holiday time, but throughout the year,” said Andy Mitchell, Syncon Homes president.

Those who wish to help may contact Tammy Davis or Carol Kiel at Syncon Homes, 782-9761, ext. 231 or 229, respectively, the Family Support Council at 782-8692, or the Carson City School District’s Children in Transition Program at 885-6294.