Community Involvement | December 9, 2022

Delivering Ho-Ho-Holiday Cheer: Battery Industry Employees Donate to Those in Need

EEE battery industry employees deliver holiday cheer

Providing Relief and Joy to Others Tops Wish List for Three Lead Battery Companies

NOTE: This is the first of two blogs featuring U.S.-based Battery Council International (BCI) member companies and their employees who are giving generously to help families over the holidays. 

Over the December holidays, nothing beats watching the joy of a child opening a wished-upon gift or a family sharing a favorite meal. But despite their best efforts, many families go without the extras that bring so much happiness.

Members of the lead battery industry have a long legacy of supporting their communities, especially over the holidays. We’re especially proud of our industry’s hard-working employees who donate their personal time and resources to help others.

In this blog, we profile three companies – Stryten Energy, The Doe Run Company and U.S. Battery Manufacturing Company – whose employees are making the holidays brighter for kids and families in need.

“The Toy Man” Delivers Gifts to 11,000 Kids in Need

Turning frowns upside down by delivering gifts to kids in need is what motivates Stryten Energy’s Mike Bergen (aka The Toy Man).

Bergen is a 31-year company veteran at Stryten Energy’s plant in Kansas City, Kansas. The company delivers premium energy storage solutions that power everything from warehouses and distribution centers to the car, train and truck transportation that keeps people on the move and essential supply chains running.

When Bergen heard a radio news report in 1994 that the City Union Mission in Wyandotte County, Kansas, had been broken into and its Christmas toys stolen, he went into action.

Bergen asked coworkers to help, and within 30 minutes he had collected nearly $400 for the Union Mission. Then he took his good deed a step farther. That same year, he established Hands to Heart, a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that delivers toys to disadvantaged children throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Mike Bergen Toy Man Delivers Holiday Cheer
The Toy Man (Mike Bergen with Stryten Energy) and his helper elves get ready to hand out toys to eager kids.

In the first year, he served about 50 kids. Now, 26 years later, the organization is delivering toys to more than 11,000 kids during the holiday season – and beyond.

“It’s Christmas, man. Getting together, putting smiles on little kids’ faces. Children are what it’s about,” Bergen said. His program has grown so much that Hands to Heart now delivers toys to children in need throughout the year, reaching families hit by natural disasters and those impacted by house fires, domestic violence or financial hardships.

Industry Employee Organizes Night Train Run

Bergen holds motorcycle rides called Night Train Runs twice a year to collect toys and funds. Instead of charging an entry fee for these events, he asks riders to “bring as many toys as your ‘hawg’ will haul!” He recently completed his 50th Night Train Run.

The Toy Man has made quite an impact on his community. In 2015, Bergen was named one of the top three of the 20 Kindest Kansas Citians.

The Doe Run Company: Giving Back in Missouri

For more than 150 years, Doe Run has been a leader in responsible mining and metal production that is integral to the full lifecycle of lead. The Missouri-based company operates one of the world’s largest single-site lead battery recycling centers.

Each year as the December holidays approach, Doe Run and its employees generously step up to help their local community. This year is no exception. Here’s some of what their team has accomplished:

• Delivered packaged foods, canned goods and supplies to the Disabled Citizens Alliance for Independence (DCAI) to help 81 families in need throughout five counties in Southeastern Missouri, and to restock the organization’s food pantry.

• Additionally, Doe Run employees throughout the organization, from the corporate office to the recycling center and mines and mills, adopted several families for Christmas, providing clothing, toys and other household necessities, and held a coat, hat and mittens drive for a local charity.

Doe Run Holiday Food Drive
Employees at The Doe Run Company gather to show some of the essential food and supplies that will be donated to a local nonprofit.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing Company: Creating Gift Boxes for Kids Worldwide

Headquartered in Corona, California, U.S. Battery Manufacturing is an industry leader in manufacturing deep cycle flooded lead batteries for golf cars, marine applications, RVs, floor cleaning machines, lift and access equipment, solar power systems and more.

This holiday season marks the sixth year that company employees have participated in Operation Christmas Child (OCC), collecting 195 individual gift boxes filled with toys, toiletries and other items for children in need. OCC is a Christian outreach program run by the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief Organization since 1970.

The OCC gift boxes are distributed to pastors and community leaders in more than 100 countries and given to children living in remote areas where items are needed. According to OCC, the Christmas boxes are often taken by boat, walked through jungles, or even via camel to their remote destinations.

Employee Organizes Operation Christmas Child Boxes
Sebastian Gonzalez, a U.S. Battery Manufacturing employee, helps organize Operation Christmas Child donations.

The Lead Battery Industry: A History of Helping Communities

These companies and individuals exemplify the culture of giving back that so many members of the U.S. lead battery industry embody over the December holidays and year-round.

Essential Energy Everyday especially thanks the employee volunteers who give generously to boost kids’ and families’ spirits during the holidays. Together, we are providing the “extras” that bring them much-needed hope and happiness.

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