In mid-November we published a blog entitled “Caring for the Community: Culture Matters.” In this blog we talked about an AMS tradition of giving to some valued friends in the Val Verdes community. In the blog our much-loved President of AMS West, Betty-Lou Wiseman, offered her memories about a 15-year AMS Tradition of feeding families on Thanksgiving. Betty-Lou talked about a partnership with the Youth Activity League in Val Verdes that began with AMS helping the League by training and hiring at-risk youth.
From this beginning, other ways of helping the youth led to a long and beautiful relationship of AMS with families in need within the community. AMS leadership and employees started contributing to a Thanksgiving program, dedicated to feeding the families in need. Feeding the families became a 15-year joyful privilege for the AMS family that stayed steadfast even through COVID. This year AMS provided turkey and fixings for 80 families. This event has become a tradition of our corporate culture.
Below is the continuation of the story. AMS is giving gifts this year as we have done for 12 years. Betty-Lou talks about the gift-giving below.
** ** **
AMS supporting the Youth Activity League’s families for Thanksgiving was just the beginning. After a successful giving tradition to the Val Verdes community, we decided to continue with the giving spirit by adopting families for Christmas. Working directly with Deputy Rooney who identified families that were in need, our journey began in this holiday tradition.
The families supplied us with a form that listed their children, clothes sizes, shoe sizes and what they would like the AMS Santa to bring them for Christmas. We reached out to our employees and they put together teams to adopt a family along with those who wanted to take on a family themselves. A few days before the event the gifts would start piling up in the offices where the wrapping began. Along with the gifts for the children we put together a holiday meal coupon from Vallarta and a little something for the parents. Packing the gifts in the AMS van and cars we were off to meet the families.
The most impactful story to me that I can share is a family who was part of our adoption asked for braces for their daughter who has Down syndrome. The braces would help her to learn how to walk. I took this challenge on getting the prescription for the braces, worked with the company in Oregon and received them a few days before our giving event.
This one little bag made the entire giving group cry with tears of happiness. This family has become part of my family every year forward. There are many more stories that go with this, a child getting their first bike, warm boots to wear, a winter jacket and plenty of gifts to put under the tree.
The AMS family meets Val Verdes families at a time when giving is so important. Everyone walks away from this event with love in their hearts. The tradition will carry on…
** ** **
This year’s Adopt a Family is well underway, and we expect to meet with Val Verde families, old friends and new, with their Christmas gifts once again. Thank you to Betty-Lou Wiseman, Samantha Hicks and Erica Martinez for your dedication and efforts in support of families in our community.