MWH ‘elves’ load Caring Center with gifts for children
The lobby of MWH’s office on Del Prado was stuffed with gifts, spilling out from under the Christmas tree.
There was Hannah Montana, Batman, and Spiderman, sitting alongside such timeless classics like Barbie, Hot Wheels, and an Easy Bake Oven.
MWH staff gathered all the presents and carried them from their third floor office to Julie Ferguson’s car.
From there, the toys will make their way into the waiting arms of Cape Coral children on Christmas morning.
Its all part of MWH’s efforts during the holidays to give something back to the community.
They “adopted” 50 kids through the Cape Caring Center, which was charged with finding out what the kids wanted to see sitting under the Christmas tree.
“I’m always amazed at their level of generosity,” said MWH program manager Larry Laws of his employees’ efforts. “Most of the employees live in the Cape, and they feel like they’re helping their neighbors.”
The Caring Center’s Ferguson — who has been a volunteer with the non-profit for the last eight years — said 2008 has been the worst year she’s ever seen.
“Its the worst year by far. The jobs aren’t there and there are no easy answers,” she said.
In 2007, the Caring Center served 900 families during Thanksgiving. This year they served almost 2,000.
Ferguson said the Caring Center was able to serve everyone, despite bare pantry shelves, with the help of the community.
“The spirit of Cape Coral is amazing,” Ferguson said. “Somehow, we were able to serve everybody.”
MWH representative Jennifer Thomas likened the Caring Center’s efforts to “the United Way,” saying their local efforts are what specifically attracted MWH to partner with them this holiday season.
“Everything was honed in on a local level,” she said. “We asked ourselves, where are we going to have the biggest impact?”
Organizing such a grand scheme fell onto the shoulders of MWH’s Alex Paipilla, who gathered the money from her fellow employees and did all the shopping.
Like a lot of Americans, Paipilla and her 12-year-old son were waiting for stores to open at 4:30 a.m. on Black Friday to do some of the shopping, though it took several weeks to complete such a monumental task.
“It’s self-fulfilling,’ she said. “For me, it’s a joy to do.”
For those interested in donating to the Cape Coral Center, or to find out how to help a family this holiday season, call 239-945-1927.