Wrapping Up the Year With Big Gifts to the Community

(BENSON) The call for donations of food, clothing and a variety of other supplies has become part of the holiday tradition at Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperatives (AzGT), and each year employees show their concern for the communities they serve. This year was no exception. Both the Benson Area Food Bank and Catholic Community Services expressed their gratitude for AzGT employees’ generosity.

“Without people like you, we wouldn’t be here,” said Joy Reilly, president of the Benson Area Food Bank. “Everything you donate has a direct impact on this community.”

Erin Peters, financial analyst II, and Megan Mamula, financial analyst II, stand among the boxes of supplies donated by employees at Apache Station and the Benson campus for the senior supply drive in November and December

Reilly said that the $500 in money and 200 pounds of food that came from AzGT employees last month helped to ensure that the people who depend on food boxes had them for the holidays. She said that about 14,000 people signed into the Benson Area Food Bank in 2018, which is more than 1,000 people per month. Some people who sign in are taking food for multiple people; therefore, the number of those served over last year could be much higher than how many signed the list.

“We help anyone who comes through the door,” Reilly said. “What you gave will help a lot of people.”

“Our clients appreciate the littlest things, but this year their sacks from your employees went way, way above the littlest things,” said Linda Wilson, senior nutrition site manager for Catholic Community Services in Cochise County. “I just wish that the employees at AzGT could see the impact that I see when I hand over their Christmas sack to the clients.”

The sacks that Wilson mentioned were filled with items that range from toilet paper to socks and are given to homebound, low-income seniors in Cochise County. Kathleen Ortega, who coordinated the drive for many years and recently retired from AzGT as internal auditor and chief risk officer, said that it was enough to ensure that each of the 75 individuals served by the program received at least one if not more of the items that were requested.

“A BIG, heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed cash and goods to the CCS senior nutrition program for their clients’ holiday baskets,” Ortega wrote in a thank-you email. “Your generosity ensures that each person supported by CCS will have a brighter holiday and know that there are those in the community that care about their well-being.”

“Sometimes when a person does not have any close relatives or very limited means to even see friends and neighbors they can get lonely and depressed, so these gifts remind them that they really do matter and are cared about,” said Leisa Cotton, senior nutrition program director for CCS in Cochise County. “It is such a morale booster.”

Here is what was either collected or purchased by people’s cash donations to the senior supply drive:

310  Pairs of Socks 156  Rolls of Paper Towels
84  Boxes of Cider & Cocoa 87  Christmas Kitchen Towels
75  Tubes of Lip Balm 163 Miscellaneous Christmas Gifts
51  Bottles of Lotion 75  Bags & Boxes of Candy
162  Boxes of Kleenex 160  Rolls of Toilet Paper


A remaining $330 of cash donations will help with “non-nutritional” items that range from electric blankets to home repairs.

Both organizations have needs that extend beyond the holiday season. Donations are welcome at any time of the year.