Employees at Riceboro based SNF Floquip got into the competitive spirit of giving by collecting 331 toys for the Liberty County Toys4Tots program.
According to Administrative Assistant Sharyl Strickland, the challenge started innocently enough when she said she would buy lunch to the person who brought in the most toys.
Strickland said the computer-assisted drawing department and the maintenance department were the first two departments to start purchasing toys.
“They challenged each other,” Strickland said, adding they started taunting each other’s department about who would bring in the most toys. “And the next thing you know, they started bringing in tons of toys.”
Process CAD supervisor William Ipps said there is a long-standing friendly inter-company rivalry already existing between his department and the maintenance department, run by manager Freddy Kaywood.
“Basically, I really didn’t want to lose to Freddy. I just don’t like to lose to Freddy,” Ipps said, adding that his group started to buy and bring in toys each time he felt challenged.
“I thought it was just between us at first,” Kaywood said.
This suddenly shifted at the 24th hour of competition, she added.
“Our engineering director, Joe Banasick, sent an email to my group saying, ‘I can’t believe you are going to let them one-up you,’” said Shamekia McGriff, environmental engineer of the regulatory department. “And it was on from there. I got with my group and I set a goal and told them we had to get at least 100 toys because he has issued a challenge.”
Strickland said that in addition to the regulatory department, the engineering group, equipment group and instrumentation group all jumped in and started buying toys.
“It just snowballed,” she said.
On Monday afternoon, United Way of Coastal Georgia Liberty County Director Jennifer Darsey and Sgt. 1st Class Lori McCampbell arrived at SNF Floquip to collect the toys.
“This is a compassionate company towards its community members and it is really outstanding,” Darsey said. “They are, by far, the largest toy contributors we’ve had this year. We really appreciate it.”
The last-minute ramp-up by McGriff earned her regulatory group the plaque for first place.
“I want to say that I really appreciate you guys and the effort you put forward in making this a fun little inter-department competition,” McCampbell said to the employees. “I can’t tell you what this means to this program. We struggle every year, not just raising the funds, because it is a very costly program to run, but to just get enough quality toys to provide to the kids.”
McCampbell explained they typically have more than 2,000 kids across Liberty and Long counties and Fort Stewart who really need this assistance every year. But, she said, budget constraints have forced them to cut back this year.
“We had to tighten up on the application process and really determine those who are really in need … we are taking on the quality-over-quantity role this year, so we have about 1,022 kids that we will be serving this Christmas,” McCampbell said. “If not for organizations like this and several other organizations throughout our communities that assist with donations and fundraising, we would not be able to do this. We are excited with everything that you’ve done this year. You’ve probably been our biggest contributors as far as toy donations, so thank you.”
Darsey said she would like to see other organizations getting into the challenge next year.
“The kids are the one that are really going to benefit from all this fun,” Strickland said, adding that SNF Floquip plans to do it every year.