Creating Christmas for Kids at Kennametal

By Christy Kennedy, Manager, Inside Sales Infrastructure, Kennametal and Kristie Meisinger, Executive Assistant, Kennametal

Every year as the holiday season approaches, our thoughts turn to family and friends and the many blessings that we share with them, but it is also the time that we look to our community to make an impact on the lives of those who are less fortunate. For the past 15 years, we have worked with United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania to provide Christmas gifts for local children in need – raising monetary contributions, shopping and wrapping gifts. Every year we continue to be impressed and moved by the overwhelming generosity of our Kennametal family in support of this event and we count on that support year after year.

This has been a heartwarming tradition for the children, their families and all those who have donated to this event. During our week-long “Christmas for the Kids” event, traditionally the week before Thanksgiving, we collect donations from our co-workers that are in the office and at home online via our MyUnitedWay campaign site. This year, we had 91 donors who raised an incredible $12,435, now that is something special!

Additionally, those who are not able to make a monetary donation, give their time in the form of shopping to help make this wonderful cause successful year after year. United Way’s dedicated team has paired us with many amazing organizations in the past such as Moms Making More, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Adelphoi. This year we had the pleasure of working with Westmoreland Community Action, an agency that could distribute the gifts to families in need. They were able to give us a “wish list” of those we were shopping for with details to help us get to know the children just a little. Then we divide up the names among our shoppers and spend the first Friday in December shopping for these very special children. We do our best to get everything on the wish list, that includes items such as bicycles, car seats, diapers and toys.

Once we are done shopping, we all meet back at Kennametal with our purchases and wait for the organizations to arrive to pick up the goodies for the children to deliver to the families in time for Christmas! We have received many photos and thank you cards from families in the past and it warms your heart to feel the love that comes through their notes.

We are incredibly lucky to be able to give back to our communities through our partnership with United Way and their wonderful work across the region. In the last decade alone, Kennametal has raised approximately $8 million for the local community through our United Way campaign and related events. While some Kennametal employees see “Christmas for Kids” as the highlight of our campaign, others attend the golf outing, volunteer at the Day of Caring, or are members of the Women’s Leadership Council and so much more.

If you’re considering giving back this holiday season or want to start a meaningful philanthropic relationship, learn more at