Blog | December 12, 2018

Holiday Giving Part Two: Lead Battery Industry Spreads Joy to Kids in Need

Full Holiday Steam Ahead! California-based U.S. Battery Manufacturing employees (L-R) Alex Jauregui, Sebastian Gonzalez and Rocky Barrios, prepare gift boxes for children around the world.

The holidays are a wonderful time to share abundance with others, especially underprivileged kids. Once again, lead battery manufacturers and recyclers are reaching out to make the holidays brighter for children around the world. Here are some of those stories.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing: Operation Christmas Child Delivers Hope

Headquartered in Corona, Calif., U.S. Battery Manufacturing has prided itself in being a family-oriented company since its beginnings in 1926. Today, it’s a leader in manufacturing deep cycle batteries for solar power, renewable energy, wind power, energy storage and a variety of motorized vehicles and machinery.

The company puts its family focus in action by participating in Operation Christmas Child (OCC). It’s a program run by Samaritan’s Purse International Relief to help victims of war, poverty, natural disasters and famine. For the past three years, more than 200 employees at U.S. Battery have contributed to the cause by collecting toiletries, toys, games, puzzles and even musical instruments. The donations fill the colorful OCC red and green shoeboxes that are then shipped to kids in need throughout the world. Some of these children live in such isolated areas that the boxes travel by camel to their final destination.

U.S. Battery’s Executive Vice President, Ron Anderson, said, “We think it’s important to give back and maintain a spirit of giving.” Anderson is the son of the company’s founder and personally volunteers at the sorting facility to ship out the shoeboxes. The company has a long history of participating in programs that help children who may need a little extra cheer at the holidays. In addition to supporting OCC, the company has also donated batteries to the Clark County Sheriff’s auction. Proceeds are used to buy holiday gifts for local kids.

ENTEK: Warming Hearts with Coats for Kids

When ENTEK opened its doors in 1984, the Lebanon, Ore. community was in transition with high unemployment due to a flagging lumber industry. After ENTEK began providing local jobs, some of the employees wanted to thank the company’s co-founder, James Young. Rather than buy a gift or plaque, the group wanted to honor his belief in the importance of giving back. They created Coats for Kids. The program has been going strong for 28 years, said Marketing Manager Carri Moffatt, who has been involved since year two.

Entek Coats for Kids

ENTEK employees Greg Humphrey and Michelle Banta shop for the Coats for Kids program.

“It’s our largest giving event every year. We started small by purchasing 50 or 60 coats, which we thought was amazing in the beginning. But this year, we’ve brought in $18,000 and purchased 750 coats to distribute. That’s enough to cover every school in our immediate area of Lebanon and Sweet Home.”

Moffatt said the need is strong in the area. Lebanon is small, with a population of around 10,000, which includes about 300 school children who qualify as homeless, meaning they are not living in their intended home, but may be staying with relatives or living in a temporary trailer.

“Coats for Kids makes an immediate impact with families in the area. Some [of these kids] have never had a new article of clothing, ever, or they have to share a coat with a sibling. They are so excited when they get their coats that they want to wear them all day in the classroom. It’s truly heartwarming.”

Coats of Many Colors: ENTEK’s shopping day results in the purchase of hundreds of new coats for kids in two Oregon communities.

The program is a year-long effort, and Moffatt has already started buying for next year. The employee-driven enterprise is an official 501 (c) (3), and 100 percent of donations from employees go directly to coat purchases. ENTEK Corporate pays for additional supplies and provides paid time off for community involvement. Other partners include Boxmaker (ENTEK’s packaging supplier) who provides materials to pack the coats for delivery to the schools, and the clothing stores who provide deep discounts to stretch the dollars as far as possible.

At the beginning of the school year, Moffatt reaches out to the school district to work with teachers and staff to compile a list of students in need of coats. On “shopping day” for students, ENTEK employees, sometimes accompanied by their families, essentially take over the store. They pull out big clothing racks and go to work. Each coat receives its own label with the child’s name and school. One cash register is devoted exclusively to Coats for Kids and it takes several hours to check out.

“It’s a great way for employees to work together, and for our families to instill the concept of giving in their own children. My girls have grown up doing this volunteer work. Now, we’re working on the third generation. When my grandson was two weeks old, we bundled him up for shopping, and now at seven years old, he helps organize the coats, pulls the racks to the front of the store, and helps with the checkout process.”

Moffatt notes “Coats for Kids continues to honor the program’s original intent, which was to give back to the community and be a good neighbor.”

Join the Village

By sharing these stories, members of the lead battery industry hope to inspire other companies to give generously. Please stay tuned for more inspiring stories.

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Tim Fister from the Argonne National Laboratory

There's a lot of room for growth in ... lead battery chemistry ... it's something that would really make it even more competitive for things like stationary storage.

Dr. Tim Fister, Materials Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory