Life at Flatiron
This Holiday Season, Flatiron Shows Its Giving Side
On this chilly December day, Flatiron’s Colorado District Office in Denver is a cornucopia of masking tape, bows and pink wrapping paper.
“I’ve been wrapping gifts for the past three-and-a-half hours,” Field Engineer Caitlin Kaltenbaugh says, as she puts a toy into a generous pile of gifts near her desk.
In a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of people out of work and cost hundreds of thousands of lives, Flatiron employees did not forget the less fortunate this holiday season. For the fourth year, Colorado District Office workers collected gifts for the Adams 14 School District in Commerce City. The educators are always thrilled to see Flatiron make the donation delivery.
Equipment Manager Clayton Durham said a very special event in his life put the Adams 14 effort in greater perspective for him.
“After I had my own child, I started to better realize the value of giving someone something, when they aren’t expecting a thing,” he explains as he wraps away at his standing desk.
In California, the helping spirit is no less strong. District Office Manager Tawnya Fernandez facilitated two holiday toy drives, one for the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego, and the other for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. The toys not only bring happiness for children going through unimaginable circumstances, they’re given out as rewards for good behavior (such as following treatment regiments).
Flatiron has a long history of helping both organizations. In 2019, Flatiron San Diego volunteers were key in the major renovation of an area Ronald McDonald House.
Fernandez says it’s the thought, not the size of the donation, that matters. “Any small gift provided goes a long way in providing happiness,” she says.
“We wanted to try to help make a small difference”
It might be cold in Canada this time of year, but members of our staff there have warm hearts.
For the past few years the Flatiron Calgary office has collected basic necessities for Inn from the Cold, a wonderful organization that provides a variety of services for families experiencing homelessness.
For Accounts Payable Specialist Therese Martin, taking on the organizer role was a no-brainer: “They all need that extra support to see them through the tough days, and help them get back on their feet.”
The nearby Cougar Creek Debris Flood Retention Structure team also has a holiday charity drive. In keeping with Flatiron’s commitment to the communities we serve, they specifically chose to collect food and money for the local Bow Valley Food Bank. “This year has been extremely hard on everyone and we wanted to try to help make a small difference,” says Project Office Manager Brandy Orman.
On the Pacific Coast, Flatiron’s Richmond office (in the Vancouver area) continued its tradition of collecting food and money for the Richmond Food Bank. According to that organization, one in seven Canadian households are struggling to put food on the table. They add that the number has spiked nearly 40% since the start of the pandemic.
Finally, the AFDE joint venture, building the Site C Generating Station and Spillways Civil Works Project in northeastern British Columbia, collected donations for the Salvation Army and Women’s Resource Centre chapters in nearby Fort St. John.
Flatiron employees helped them just have a Christmas, period.
The pandemic has made too many families make painful decisions for their own survival. In some cases Christmas presents have become a luxury that some simply can’t afford right now. That’s why employees based out of the Flatiron Mid-Atlantic offices in Morrisville, North Carolina knew they had to make an even bigger giving effort this year.
The team there collected generously for the United States Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots program. This year the Morrisville office was even deemed an official drop-off spot for donations.
For many at Flatiron who donated in 2020, taking credit was not important. Colorado Senior Project Office Manager Thomene Garcia says employees are purposely not there to see the families get the gifts.
However, she was able to view a video of last year’s gift distribution. Not surprisingly at a school district where one in eight children are homeless, Garcia said many people were crying.
“The families are so grateful,” she says. “We’re told over and over again that what we did for them was their only Christmas.”
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