[verbatim release] October 2012 – Siemens helped to bring a little ray of sunshine to the children of Stewpot’s Flowers House – in the shape of a new playground for them to enjoy. “When your children are happy it gives you hope that tomorrow holds a brighter future,” said Monica Viso-Porter, marketing coordinator for Siemens.
This local division of Siemens Energy, established in 1973, which manufactures high-voltage equipment: circuit breakers, voltage regulators and surge arresters, held an internal Day of Giving fundraiser. “We have a deep sense of family and community here,” said Muhammad Sohail, VP and GM, Siemens HP division. “We have around 350 employees, 70 percent of which are hourly assemblers, who came together in one afternoon raising funds towards the playground, and gathered food for the pantry, clothes, and toys for other Stewpot programs.”
Stewpot, founded in 1981, when representatives from seven churches in Jackson, Mississippi, came together across denominational lines to discuss a problem they all had in common – meeting the consistent requests for food, housing, and assistance from Jackson's needy. Together, these seven churches created what is known today as Stewpot Community Services. Now there are three shelters for women and children, a shelter for men, a clothing closet, a meals-on-wheels program, as well as children’s programs (www.stewpot.org).
Over the years Siemens has assisted Stewpot, performing many community service activities to help this non-profit organization. “Siemens has a great sense of community involvement,” says Frank Spencer, Executive Officer, Stewpot. “Their employees have come through for us many times before and every year they ask us at Stewpot what our goals are and how they can help.”
Raising money was only part of the commitment made by Siemens. Installing a massive playset was the ultimate goal, and that required ground preparation, laying gravel and sand, and building boarders around the area.
Siemens reached out to other local businesses and the community answered. Kansas City Railroad donated the 16 railroad ties that created the border for the playground. Southeastern Stone & Flooring, Inc., a local family-owned general contractor, donated manpower, materials and equipment to prepare the ground for the installation and the placement of the 350 lb. railroad ties around the playground. “We believe in the Stewpot organization, helping families get back on their feet during hard times. We proudly help one another out,” states Mrs. Andrea Meadows, of Southeastern Stone & Flooring.
Installing the playset was a multiple day project where volunteers from Siemens and Southeastern Stone & Flooring completed the impressive construction. Then it was time for the finishing touches to the playground, a gravel ground cover.
The Home Depot, in Jackson off Highway 55, donated the gravel ground cover for the 36 X 36 play area, which finished off the project. Scott Mitchell, store manager, and Don Corbin, operations manager at The Home Depot went a step further and donated multiple flats of flowers and mums so that the resident families at Flowers House could plant individual gardens. “We’re proud to partner with The Home Depot and Southeastern Stone & Flooring. Everyone has a strong commitment to community development,” states Ms. Viso-Porter. “Mississippians really care about one another.”
Now, the Flowers House has a wonderful playground for the more than 14 children that reside there – bringing smiles, laughter and hope for a better tomorrow.