2018 El Paso Water Charity of Choice Chair Gerardo Gomez presented a check for $47,000 to the Assistance League of El Paso on September 12 at the Public Service Board meeting.
The donation, that shattered goal expectations of $30,000, comes from the EPWater employee fundraising campaign and will benefit Operation School Bell.
Operation School Bell is a program which helps clothe El Paso County schoolchildren in need, from grades 1 to 5. School administration officials work with the nonprofit to identify schoolchildren in need.
Each child receives three pairs of pants, three shirts, underwear and socks, one jacket, new shoes and a hygiene kit.
“Operation School Bell assists children from Anthony, Texas, to Tornillo,” Gomez said during the presentation. “The goal of this program is to increase schoolchildren’s self-esteem and encourage them to attend school on a regular basis.”
Operation School Bell has assisted more than 100,000 El Paso schoolchildren in its existence, with more than 3,700 served last year, said Ina Lachmann, president of the Assistance League of El Paso.
“Funds presented to Operation School Bell will help us serve more children,” Lachmann said. “Especially important are emergency situations, such as loss of home in fire or homeless children who register at our schools. These children can now be served, and we can accept additional students from our needier schools in El Paso County.”
At EPWater, the Charity of Choice fundraising season got underway earlier this year, when the committee of employees met to select a local nonprofit organization as the beneficiary. Once the choice was approved by the PSB, the fundraising campaign commenced.
A flurry of events followed, such as a fishing derby, a bowling, volleyball, softball and trap shoot tournaments, as well as a karaoke sing-off.
Along with activities at the Hawkins Administrative Office and Customer Service, those events raised $24,968.02, Gomez said.
Events wrapped up in late August with a golf tournament, sponsored by Touchstone Golf Foundation, which raised $22,031.98.
Gomez thanked Charity of Choice Committee members, event organizers and all who participated in the 2018 campaign.
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said, adding that it was exciting to be a part of raising the final amount.