On any given day, dozens of trucks can be seen hauling cargo to and from the NIEHS main campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Dec. 4, one of those trucks was tasked with transforming the holiday season for several local children in need.
The truck belonged to the Salvation Army of Durham, and within its hold were toys, bikes, clothes, and an array of donated gifts courtesy of the NIEHS Giving Tree program.
“The level of compassion our people show through this program is nothing short of awe-inspiring,” said Myra Westmoreland, an administrative officer with NIEHS and one of the program’s lead coordinators.
Each year, NIEHS partners with a local charity that provides lists of needed items for low-income families in the Raleigh-Durham area. Those lists are hung as tags on Giving Trees that are placed around the NIEHS facilities. Employees pick a tag that speaks to them, purchase the items, and leave them beneath the trees for pickup by the charity.
“There are a lot of parents in our local community who couldn’t afford to give their children holiday gifts this year,” said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). “Now, because of our employees, they can. I thank everyone who participated in this wonderful program.”
(Ian Thomas is a public affairs specialist in the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)