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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

January 2019

NIEHS Giving Tree brightens holidays for local children

Staff and contractors stepped up to provide toys, bikes, clothes, and other gifts to children of needy families in the Raleigh-Durham area.

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.

Volunteers waiting for Truck at Loading Dock From left, volunteers Dori Germolec, Ph.D., Veronica Godfrey Robinson, David Carter, Troy Hubbard, Ph.D., and Kristin Ryan, Ph.D., waited for the truck that would haul away the bicycles, skateboards, clothes, and other gifts. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)

“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.

Veronica Robinson and Diane Spencer Robinson, left, and Diane Spencer, both from NTP, shared a sense of joy after setting up the Keystone building’s giving tree. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)

“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.)


postdoctoral fellow helped move donations Hubbard, a postdoctoral fellow in the NTP Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Group, helped move donations out to the loading dock on pick up day. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)
volunteers in front of truck A meeting had just adjourned when the truck pulled up at the Keystone building. Among the attendees who stopped to help the volunteers were, from left, Victoria Moore, Sumalatha Gangaraju, Radhika Thammisetty, Orlando Jesalva, Ryan, Germolec, Vicki Sutherland, Ph.D., Hubbard, Jama Batbayar, and Chaitanya Vadloori, all from NTP. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)
giving tree in lobby Giving Trees were placed in the lobbies of the NIEHS Rall and Keystone buildings. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)
donation pickups Pickups took place bright and early on Dec. 4. Batbayar helped load some of the bounty from the Keystone building. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Godfrey Robinson)
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