By Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
When the employees of Snap-on Tools noticed funding cutbacks to local nonprofit groups, they chose to do something about it.
Through an idea of Cheryl Bouchard, manager of Snap-on's Velocity Center on Fairview Drive, a community action team was put in place to organize fundraisers for various charities selected by the associates.
"Most of the funds have been raised through bake sales," said team member Chris Senger. "We also made and sold 600 tamales to the associates.
"That was a crazy weekend."
Snap-on Corporation, based in Kenosha, Wis., paid for the ingredients. The associates measured, mixed and assembled the tamales.
"We even had Fred (Ciccarelli) helping out," said clerk Diane Swords. "And this is a guy who doesn't wash his own dishes."
"I use paper plates in my house," Ciccarelli commented.
Snap-on's most recent donation was $400 to Advocates to End Domestic Violence. The money was presented within a red ceramic piggy bank complete with signatures of the company's associates on it.
"It is odd to get a donation such as this," said Traci Trenoweth with Advocates. "It's usually in the form of a food or clothing drive."
Trenoweth spoke with the associates and explained the function of Advocates and how the money would be used.
"This will help purchase produce and meat for the clients," Trenoweth said. "And, we are adding heating and air conditioning in all the shelter units. I can't thank you enough for your donation."
Swords said participation and results of the fundraisers have been effective, and the charities are chosen by the associates through a vote.
"Other than taking money out of their own pockets, the people are finding ways to help give back in their community," she said. "Many of them not only donate money, but volunteer their time to various charities."
Past donations have been made to Friends in Service Helping and Court Appointed Special Advocates. Other efforts include aiding the victims of last year's Angora fire, Fernley flood and support of troops in Iraq.
"We are currently on track to provide DAWG (Douglas Animal Welfare Group) and the Washoe Tribe's Summer Food Program each with $400 before the end of the summer," Swords said.
Helping to keep associates interested are the "fun games" offered. Like guessing the number of M&M's in a jar, offering a tool box with tools inside and others. The Carson City facilities have 100 employees between the Western Repair Center, distribution center and warehouse.
"The number of participants varies depending on the activity," Swords said. "Overall, more than half participate in most of our activities."
Team members include: Swords, Senger, Susan Rust, Suzie Sorensen, Richard McGifford, Stephanie Alvarado, Cisco Rodriguez, Ciccarelli and Bouchard. Rodriguez is helping at-risk youth get involved with a car club has started with them.
"I'm working with kids in middle and high school to get involved with cars rather than gang bangers," Rodriguez said. "I used to be in one. I show them what they can do to change their lifestyle. They're learning by example."
"We're also doing a lot of recycling," Senger said.
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.