TAMPA — An eager team of Kohl's employees recently converged on the campus of Shriners Hospital for Children — Tampa.
But pitching the company's products wasn't their agenda. Instead, the 50 Kohl's “Associates in Action” had come as volunteers to do some spring cleaning and painting at the 60-bed facility focused on treating children with orthopedic, neuromuscular and skeletal disorders.
The goodwill effort by representatives from six Kohl's stores throughout the Tampa Bay area was in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, Earth Day and Kohl's fifth annual countrywide Go Green initiative.
A cluster of female Kohl's Clearwater store associates quickly went to work scrubbing down tables and chairs in the hospital's cafeteria while a contingent of men and other women from the Brandon and New Port Richey stores assembled outside to spruce up a stretch of wrought iron fencing with a coat of hunter green paint.
Still others, including Kohl's employees from the New Tampa, St. Petersburg and Spring Hill locations, opted to sort through and organize the hospital's toy closet, filled from floor to ceiling with a collection of games, toys, stuffed animals, books and more for boys and girls of all ages.
“We love to come here because we love to support Shriners. They do really good work here,” said Clearwater associate Alicia Kellogg, who in her five years with the company marked her fourth consecutive year as a Kohl's volunteer in its fifth annual Shriners hospital project.
Sue Reynolds, manager of the Brandon Kohl's store and district captain for the Associates in Action program, said there is never a problem recruiting volunteers for the event, one in which each employee gives up three hours of his or her off-the-clock time.
“What draws us is that our people love giving back to their community,” she said.
The hospital's public relations coordinator, Bethanne Demas, was quick to express her appreciation.
“We love having you,” she said.
Every year since the project's inception, in combination with the volunteer initiative, Kohl's also has donated $9,000 to Shriners, a nonprofit organization that treats children regardless of their families' ability to pay.
Demas noted that since 2008 Kohl's has contributed a total of $57,000 in conjunction with its spring project and others which directly benefit the hospital.
“We are extremely grateful because we rely on groups like Kohl's' Associates in Action to help us with our mission of providing expert pediatric specialty care,” she said.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]