Photo courtesy of Joy Woods

Walking down the hall on the second floor north wing of Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Corporate Headquarters in December, one would think Santa’s sleigh had tipped out all its contents. Christmas-wrapped boxes and bags of all sizes covered the cabinets and floor through the Finance area, making employees feel festive just passing by.

Joy Woods, Treasury Senior Analyst, organized the collection of gifts for children at the Benton Harbor Street Ministries. “Our team provided gifts for 42 kids this Christmas, including a stocking for each one.” Team members each “adopted” a child, and their first priority was to meet basic needs for warmth in the winter, including coats, hats, gloves, boots, snowpants and socks. In addition, wishes from each child’s Santa list were also fulfilled. One boy requested a shovel so he could make some money scooping snow in his neighborhood!

The project started in 2013 when Joy saw the opportunity listed in her church newsletter. She donated a bag of winter wear, then two more, and then asked the program director for the Benton Harbor Street Ministries, Yvonne Hester, to give her a list of kids and what they needed. That list included 30+ names, and Joy knew it was time to enlist some help. Members of the Tax, Treasury, Risk and Real Estate teams joined the effort for the next two years, and this year, Corporate Accounting and the Controller’s group members wanted to participate as well, bringing the total number of “Santa’s elves” to fifty-five. Participants chose a child’s name in late November, then either shopped for the items or donated money to help fill stockings or make sure siblings received similar types and numbers of gifts. “The team looks forward to this activity every holiday season, and have even asked about mentoring the kids throughout the rest of the year,” said Joy.

If you’d like to learn more about the Benton Harbor Street Ministries and how you can get involved, contact Yvonne Hester by email or phone (269)-925-4333.