Volunteers Give Back with Toys and Hot Meals

Nearly 100 Honda Community Action Team (HCAT) volunteers showed their holiday spirit while participating in the 28th annual Sharing is Caring Luncheon on Dec. 20, treating families to a restaurant-style meal at the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach in California.

“The smile on the children’s faces, it’s a picture you can’t describe,” says Ruth Tsuji, an American Honda associate in the Auto Sales Division. “Many of these families don’t typically have this type of experience during the holidays. It makes you appreciate how fortunate we are.”

American Honda’s Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility Department, which organizes the annual volunteer opportunity in partnership with the Marriott and The Salvation Army, geared this year’s luncheon towards families, and specifically children who could use some holiday cheer.

“Sharing is Caring started as a way to help underprivileged kids in the South Bay enjoy Christmas,” explains Steve Morikawa, vice president, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility. “In addition to serving meals to attendees, our volunteers had the opportunity to interact directly with the children through games and activities this year.”

Signups for the popular volunteer opportunity filled up in less than a week. Many associates participate through the Honda Volunteer Program, which helps associates to volunteer during work.

“It’s the joy of giving back to our community that has associates volunteering year after year for Sharing is Caring,” Morikawa says. Associates sign up with colleagues, as well as their departments. American Honda’s Young Professionals Business Resource Group got involved as well.

Tsuji, who has volunteered for all 28 years, has spent a lot of time focusing on volunteerism and giving back. “All I give is my time, but what I get back in return is so much more,” she says.

Children, who attended the luncheon with their families, took photos with Santa and were given Disney plush toys courtesy of American Honda, and Hot Wheels modeled after the Honda Civic Si donated by Honda Patents and Technologies.

“I think it’s great that Honda is focusing more on the kids this year,” shares American Honda Finance Corp. associate Lynette Mason. “I just saw a bunch of kids get excited at the opportunity to get a toy. I love seeing their faces light up.”

Twenty-eight years ago, someone broke in to The Salvation Army Warehouse and stole all the toys intended for underprivileged South Bay children during the holidays. When American Honda learned of the robbery, the company reached out to The Salvation Army to initiate the donations.

“American Honda has enabled us to do the most good in the community, both in Torrance and the South Bay,” says Captain Justin Docherty of The Salvation Army. “With their help, we’ve been able to feed thousands of residents, house seniors, and give toys to children.”

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