The Pickens Area Society for Human Resource Management gathers for one of their monthly lunch and learn meetings, but instead of meeting around a conference table, the organization members are in an assembly line, packing baskets full of resources for new Pickens County homeowners. Leading this project is Alison Saavedra, Human Resources Manager at Champion Aerospace and president of the PASHRM.
Alison Saavedra has been involved with Habitat for Humanity since high school. She has fond memories of learning valuable life skills while volunteering on the construction of Habitat houses. Her involvement with Habitat continues in the workplace, both at Champion Aerospace and with the PASHRM.
Each year, the PASHRM initiates a volunteer project in the community. When the organization was brainstorming ways to serve this year, Saavedra immediately thought of Habitat. “We decided we wanted to do something a little different this year. So we reached out to Habitat to see if there was anything different from a build that we could do,” she said. With the help of Rose Davis, former PCHFH Resource Development Manager, the “Welcome Home Basket” project began to take shape.
The intention behind the Welcome Home Baskets was to alleviate the stress of moving into a new home by providing homeowners with important items that they may have not yet purchased for their home. Saavedra and Davis worked together to create a list of these items, which included toilet paper, cleaning supplies, aluminum foil, hand towels and nonperishable food items, among other things. Their goal was to make five of these gift baskets.
“Once we got the list, we reached out to our HR membership and asked anybody interested in donating to send us what they’d be donating,” Saavedra said. “If people wanted to donate multiple things that was great, but we wanted each basket to have enough of each item to be the same.”
Once all of the donations were collected, Saavedra and eight PASHRM members set up a time to meet and put the baskets together. As a team, they packed and decorated the baskets, then delivered them to PCHFH for delivery to Habitat homeowners.
Saavedra said the baskets were not only a unique opportunity to serve the community, but also a creative project for the PASHRM, which is something they don’t usually have the opportunity to do. While this year was the first time the PASHRM created the Welcome Home Baskets, Saavedra thinks that this may be a project that they continue in the future.
Saavedra believes in the importance of giving back to the community and recognizes the unique opportunities that she has to do this as an HR professional.
“When you work in HR, you see the struggles that other people are having, so being able to provide something that makes a difference, and really doesn’t take much time, is an amazing thing to do,” she said. “At the end of the day, the reason we’re there is to make sure that the humans at work are doing okay. And I want to do whatever I can to help make that happen.”
Have your own ideas about unique ways to support new homeowners? Contact PCHFH Executive Director Jill Evans at JillEvans@PickensHabitat.org. To volunteer or donate to Habitat, visit our website at https://PickensHabitat.org/how-to-help/.