January 7, 2015
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Effort involves area companies, organizations and churches
Steel recycler Gerdau, along with area businesses, organizations and churches and the Knoxville Police Department, recently partnered to brighten the holidays for Lonsdale Elementary School students.
Putting a twist on the “Angel Tree” concept, the partners provided a way for parents to select gifts specifically for their children. In addition to Gerdau, others involved in the effort included Pinnacle Financial Partners; Scripps Networks Interactive; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Girls Inc.; Project Grad Knoxville; Lonsdale Elementary School; and Cedar Springs Presbyterian, Fellowship, Grace Baptist, Lonsdale United Methodist and Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist churches.
“We wanted the gifting to be more personal,” said Adam Fritts, community resource coordinator for Lonsdale Elementary School. “Instead of purchasing gifts for a designated child, donors provided things like clothing, balls, games and books, which stocked the ‘Lonsdale Christmas Gift Shop.’ Parents then ‘purchased’ five gifts for each child by making donations as they were able.”
Parents donated more than $750. Those funds will be used to help members of the school’s safety patrol participate in the Safety Patrol Trip to Washington, D.C., at the end of the school year.
Providing five gifts for each of the school’s 409 students was not a simple undertaking. The project included donations from the different partners and the services of 101 volunteers. Gerdau supplied 300 hooded sweatshirts, which were purchased via employee donations and funds raised through an internal auction of Christmas trees that employees made out of steel rebar, the company’s product.
The volunteers contributed by wrapping gifts, serving food, loading cars, organizing tables and translating, as needed.
“I am so very proud to be associated with a school and partners who truly believe in serving each other and loving our neighbors,” Lonsdale Elementary School Principal Amy Brace said. “Thank you for all you did for our families and students.”
“We love the Lonsdale community and Lonsdale Elementary,” Gerdau Vice President and General Manager Johnny Miller said. “This was an excellent way to celebrate the holidays and help the parents in our community put something special under the tree for their children.”
Gerdau has a robust social responsibility program that focuses on providing community support in the locations where it operates.
Gerdau is the leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special long steel in the world. It has over 45,000 employees and industrial operations in 14 countries with operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia, which together represent an installed capacity of over 25 million metric tons of steel per year. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and around the world it transforms millions of metric tons of scrap into steel every year. Gerdau is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York, and Madrid and has around 140,000 shareholders.
For more information, visit http://www.gerdau.com/longsteel.