The Salvation Army Angel Tree is a longtime Christmas tradition at Vulcan Materials Company in Birmingham. This year employees rallied to fulfill the wish lists of more than 60 local children. Bham Now has the details, and hang on for a special rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” at the end.
Angel Tree History
Founded in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White in Lynchburg, Virginia, the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program provides clothes and toys to children who might not have a Christmas otherwise. Today, it has grown into a national program.
In Birmingham metro this year, the Angel Tree Program helped some 4,000 children thanks to corporate partners and community support, said Lori Cork, public relations director at The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command.
While individuals can participate by visiting the Angel Tree at Brookwood Village in Homewood, employees who donate through their workplaces, such as Vulcan Materials Company, make up the lion’s share of Angel gifts.
“Annually, approximately 70 to 80 percent of all Angels are adopted by corporate partners. This year, we (the Birmingham Salvation Army) had an exceptional response with 85 percent of our Angels adopted through corporate groups.
“We are beyond grateful for the generosity of our community year after year, and it goes to show that if we pull together we can do great things for our neighbors in need.”Lori Cork, public relations director
How It Works
First, The Salvation Army sent an email to Vulcan Materials Company and other corporate partners to find out if they would participate again. (Contact The Salvation Army if your company wants to get involved next year). Next came the annual Angel Tree orientation. Then the Vulcan Employee Development Association (VEDA), which heads up the company Angel Tree, distributed the Angel cards.
After employees brought in their Angel gifts, VEDA coordinators checked them against the cards. Vulcan Materials Company executives donated extra cash, which coordinators used to shop for anything missing from the wish lists. Finally, team members bagged, labeled and delivered the gifts to the Birmingham Salvation Army warehouse, where parents picked them up.
“Many of us go through our normal day to day and get hyper focused on our own personal situations. We take for granted all the things that we have or that have been done for our benefit,” said Andy McRae, director of tax planning and exams at Vulcan Materials Company.
Participating in the Angel Tree puts things in perspective. This year, all 60 Angel cards assigned to Vulcan were claimed by the time McRae’s department got involved. But his team collected money anyway. In the end, The Salvation Army provided extra Angel cards to Vulcan, and even more children’s wishes were met.
“I am hopeful that supporting the Angel Tree program provides peace to those families who face financial struggles and pressures of providing a Christmas to their children.”Andy McRae, Vulcan Materials Company
Along with general items like clothes, each child listed a wish and a need. Joshua Brasseale, the employee who coordinated the Angel Tree this year at Vulcan, shopped for a child who requested a tablet for their wish item (wish granted!). However, Brasseale was struck most by what the child listed as a need.
“The one thing this child needed was a coat—a thing most of us take for granted.”Joshua Brasseale, Vulcan Materials Company
The 12 Days of Christmas, Vulcan Style
One Salvation Army Angel Tree
The Salvation Army Angel Tree is only one way Vulcan Materials Company gives back through the year. Here are 11 more in honor of the 12 days of Christmas, December 25 through January 5.
Two Cheers for Cristo Rey
Holy Family Cristo Rey High School combines academic rigor and a corporate work study program to empower students from economically challenged families. Vulcan Materials Company has partnered with the school for more than a decade.
Three Annual Quarry Crusher Runs
Tarrant City Schools benefited from the Third Annual Quarry Crusher Run held in April at the Vulcan Materials Dolcito Quarry in Tarrant City. Vulcan also hosted Quarry Crusher Runs in Atlanta, San Antonio and San Diego, as well as Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina.
Four Tons of Food
During Vulcan’s Stockpile for Hunger Food Drive Challenge, October 15 to November 15, 2018, more than 800 Alabama employees across Vulcan’s Southern and Gulf Coast division collected four tons of food to support local food pantries.
Five Years of The Vulcans Community Awards
Vulcan Materials Company is one of the sponsors behind this celebration of local heroes, hosted annually by the Vulcan Park Foundation in Birmingham.
Six(teen!) Years Serving Ruffner Mountain
In 2017, the Wildlife Habitat Council certified Vulcan Materials Company for its efforts to protect, enhance and monitor wildlife and habitat restoration projects at Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve. The partnership between Vulcan and Ruffner began in 2002.
Seven Zip Lines at Red Mountain Park
The Vulcan Materials Zip Trip features seven zip lines, a sky bridge and a rope swing at the site of one of Birmingham’s original mines, dating back to 1880. Today the mine is a natural attraction within the 1,500-acre Red Mountain Park, the largest park in Birmingham.
Eight Smart Cookies
The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama’s One Smart Cookie Celebration honored eight women of distinction this year, including a lifetime achievement award and a community impact award. Guess who was named the corporate honoree in 2018? Yep, Vulcan Materials Company.
Nine Catfish Frys
A Vulcan Materials team competed in September’s Ninth Annual Cahaba River Society Fry-Down at Railroad Park in Birmingham. The event supports the CLEAN program, which provides Cahaba stream walks, canoe trips and outdoor nature classroom programs for grade schoolers and college students.
Ten Amazing Races
The Lakeshore Foundation’s Amazing Race raises money and community awareness to support those with physical disabilities. Vulcan Materials Company was a sponsor of the 10th Annual Amazing Race, and the company team placed ninth overall.
Eleven Rounds of Hokey Pokey
(Okay, 11 rounds might be a bit much, but I needed an 11). The Bell Center is a highly acclaimed children’s early intervention program in Homewood. Vulcan employees volunteer with the children and support the center’s two annual fundraisers.
Twelve Pork Butts Smoking
Going 22 years strong, the Pig Iron BBQ Challenge is one of Birmingham’s oldest barbecue competitions. Vulcan Materials Company competes every year, smoking 400 pounds of ribs and 12 pork butts. Proceeds benefit Children’s Harbor, which provides essential free services to seriously ill children and their families.
Merry Christmas, Birmingham!