WESTLAKE — Spreading holiday cheer to kids in its neighboring county, employees at Westlake’s Equity Trust collected toys for more than 150 members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County’s Desich Family Campus.
Of those children receiving gifts, 136 came to a holiday party Tuesday evening at the company’s headquarters.
Adrian Sanchez, director of the Desich Family Campus, called the program a “blessing,” with it providing each child two wrapped Christmas gifts they had requested.
“This is one of — if not the — biggest event that we have throughout the year,” Sanchez said. “Kids are literally asking me almost every day leading up to it. Especially today, I’ve had kids ask me like almost every five minutes ‘when are we leaving’ … so it’s a very exciting thing for them.”
He said the staff was almost as excited to watch the kids open their gifts, having helped them pick them out.
Equity Trust has partnered with the campus for the past four or five years, said Anthony Devito, co-chair of the company’s gift committee. The Desich Family, which owns Equity Trust, donated the property for the campus. He said employees signed up and bough each child two gifts, with others attending wrapping parties or coordinating Tuesday’s party — which has been in the works since mid-October. Adults peeked over the upstairs balconies, watching club members unwrap and play with the toys they’d purchased.
“We just wanted to have them have something to be able to unwrap,” Devito said.
A large undertaking for Equity Trust’s roughly 400 employees, Devito said the Clubs’ Christmas party is just one volunteer initiative the company promotes.
“It’s important because it gets our name out, it shows that we’re caring about the community being able to try and help out wherever we can,” he said. “This has been one of our very longstanding items that we do, this is part of our gift committee that Equity Trust has.”
While it’s a chance for employees to give back to the surrounding community on a broader level, the party meant a lot to some of the Clubs’ members, Sanchez said.
“A lot of these kids here, we do come from a lot of lower-income homes,” Sanchez said. “So what they’re receiving tonight for some of these families — not all — but for some of them, this might be the only gift that they get during the Christmas season. For them it means a lot, because at least here they can get a smile on their face, something to lighten up their mood just in case they don’t get anything at home.”
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