One little girl asked for warm clothes. When pressed, she said she liked Elmo. A young teen wanted a clock radio to listen to as he got ready for school. Another asked for a book bag from Santa.
Though the holiday wish lists were simple, they were profound reminders of the many children who do without small luxuries – and even basic necessities – that others take for granted.
These children and hundreds of others will have their holiday wishes filled because of caring individuals who came together to share their compassion and generosity.
Employees from Duke Energy’s seven nuclear stations across North and South Carolina and Florida collected gifts, held fundraising drives and donated their time and energy to bring holiday cheer to families in need throughout the southeast U.S.
“People who work in the nuclear industry often select their career paths because they want to perform work that is valuable and meaningful. This desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others is illuminated by the tremendous turnout of volunteers and volume of gifts and toys – often truckloads – that employees donate during the holiday season.
The following are highlights of holiday giving programs throughout Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet:
- Employees at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant near Southport, N.C., understand how having a bicycle is often a childhood rite of passage, but many children whose families are struggling financially have to go without one. To give children a chance to make memories that include bike riding with friends, employees raised a record $21,866 to purchase 267 bicycles and helmets for children at 42 participating schools in Brunswick, New Hanover, Columbus and Pender counties. During the program’s 16-year history, employees have delivered bikes to 2,314 children.
- Meanwhile, at Catawba Nuclear Station in York County, S.C., employees filled a 21-foot truck with toys and gifts as part of the station’s Toys for Happiness and Adopt-A-Child programs. The two programs help underprivileged and foster care children in York County and support the missions of the United Way and Department of Social Services.
- In Citrus County, Fla., Crystal River Nuclear Plant employees joined their colleagues from the Crystal River Energy Complex fossil units to not only fill, but also exceed, the wish lists of 312 children in Citrus County. Each child, including several children with special needs, received all of the clothes, shoes and toys they were hoping for, plus extras that were not on their lists. The Holiday Hope program, which has been underway for more than 20 years, benefits families served by the Citrus County Family Resource Center.
- After identifying 10 families from the Moncure School in Chatham County, N.C., who are facing significant hardship, employees from the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, N.C., collected 500 gifts and toys to help make the families’ holidays brighter. The Wish Upon a Star initiative is in its 12th year of making wishes come true for families in need.
- Employees at McGuire Nuclear Station donated 200 bikes and filled 20 large bags with toys for the Toys for Tots drive. In addition to individual employee donations, several teams raise funds throughout the year to purchase items for the annual collection drive.
- For its annual Adopt-A-Child program, employees at Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C., shopped for 140 underprivileged children who were identified by the local Salvation Army and United Way as needing assistance. Employees select a child by taking a paper ornament from a Christmas tree featuring the children’s names and wish lists.
- Employees participated in several charitable giving initiatives at H. B. Robinson Nuclear Plant near Hartsville, S.C., ranging from a chili cook-off to a Giving Tree wish-list program. To help fight hunger, employees donated 65 turkeys to local charities and more than 1,000 jars of peanut butter and boxes of cereal to the Carolina Kid’s Hunger Buster program.
Though each nuclear station has its own holiday giving traditions, the generosity of spirit and genuine enthusiasm for helping those less fortunate are qualities that are shared universally across Duke Energy.