MARTY PRICE – MARTY PRICEMary Dancy takes paper products from fellow employee Michael Webb over the curb as they load donated goods for CVAN into Janice Hancock’s SUV at Spectrum Discovery Center.
In one week last fall, employees of the Spectrum Discovery Center in Kannapolis filled 14 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child as their first service project.
“The employees stuffed (the shoeboxes) so full, we had to use rubber bands to keep them closed. And they put handwritten notes of encouragement in each one,” said Tiffany Fox, a sensory analyst at Spectrum Discovery Center. The consumer product research and testing business is on Oak Avenue in the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.
“We have been successful on the North Carolina Research Campus for the past five years, and we wanted to find ways to give back while being engaged with the community,” she said.
Fox started the company’s community service program, named “Spectrum Shares,” in the fall of 2013; its goal is to do one community service program per quarter.
Employee Janice Hancock worked with Fox on the shoebox project and came up with the idea for the February event. “From Our Heart To Your Heart” benefited the Cabarrus Victims Assistance Network.
Hancock had interacted with CVAN since its beginning, and she researched what items the organization needed most.
She set out two collection bins Feb. 10 – one at the UNC building of the Research Campus and one in the company’s lobby – asking for paper goods and laundry detergent, the items CVAN had requested.
The plan was to collect the donations and deliver them on Valentine’s Day, but the snowstorm Feb. 12-13 changed that plan. On Feb. 20, after extending the collection through the following week, the employees loaded 189 rolls of toilet paper, eight rolls of paper towels, 10 boxes of facial tissue, 400 napkins, 12 boxes of trash bags and 12 gallons of detergent into Hancock’s SUV for delivery to CVAN.
CVAN has been providing a safe refuge of shelter, support and advocacy for battered women and their children since 1982. Many families arrive at the shelter with little more than a few important papers and a garbage bag of clothes for the children.
Rebecca Moffett, assistant director of CVAN, said these displaced families have the same paper needs that others have in our homes. Because of the number of families the agency helps, its shelters use much more of those paper products – including toilet paper, paper towels and napkins – than a single family home.
“We were happy with the supplies Spectrum delivered on the 20th because it means one less thing to purchase or worry about in our budget,” said Moffett. “This is a straightforward thing that individuals or groups can do to help us out.
“When you are buying a paper product for your family, just buy an extra roll or two and donate it to our shelter. It is that easy,” she said.
In 2013, CVAN answered 1,681 crisis calls, served 1,378 new women, provided 4,147 nights of shelter, fed 16,680 meals and reached out to 3,128 people through their community education program. To learn more about what materials are needed and how to help out, visit www.cvan.org.
Fox said these first two service programs were only the beginning, and Spectrum employees hope to involve more people and businesses in larger community service projects in the future.
For more information on the Spectrum Discovery Center, visit www.spectrumdiscoverycenter.com.