December 14, 2010
Christmas came a week early for people with intellectual disabilities at The Arc of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Developmental Disabilities Corporation (ARC-PDDC), thanks to the award-winning Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Company of Souderton, maker of sunrooms and awnings. Craft-Bilt continues to carry on a holiday tradition which they started in 1986.
On Tuesday, December 14, 2010, Craft-Bilt executives and staff members traveled from Souderton for the 25th year in a row to The Arc and PDDC, at 2350 W. Westmoreland Street, Philadelphia, in order to deliver gifts. Craft-Bilt’s Richard Ball, an account manager, dresses up as Santa Claus, and there are Santa caps and Rudolph antlers on the others.
Since Debbie Stone, the daughter of the founder and the sister of Andy Stone, company president, had been a special education teacher in the Philadelphia School District for years before joining the family business, she had suggested a project involving the clients of the Arc of Philadelphia and PDDC to begin this tradition.
The annual event involves Craft-Bilt’s obtaining the names of about 70 clients of the Arc and PDDC on Westmoreland Street, finding out sizes and needs of clients who don’t have close family ties or any families at all, and then purchasing and wrapping presents for them.
Laura Princiotta, COO of PDDC, said that the clients in the training center look forward each year to this special celebration. Gift-wrapped presents include practical and useful items, like hats, scarves, gloves, slippers, socks, sweatshirts, fleece blankets, perfume or cologne, shaving cream, body wash, toothpaste, comb and brush sets, as well as jewelry, small stuffed animals, music boxes, mugs, small knick- knacks, picture frames, and umbrellas.
Inger and Andy Stone purchase the clothing items on the list, and employees each select one item from the list prepared by Princiotta and her staff and gift-wrap each item.
Craft-Bilt’s Mandy Gebbie organizes all of the gifts, which were wrapped by manufacturing associate Nancy Eck. Craft-Bilt also orders several hundred tiny stuffed animals for Santa to hand out in the Training Center at the Arc and PDDC.
According to Debbie Stone, the Craft-Bilt employees look forward to this special visit to the Arc and PDDC each year, and they enjoy having contact with their special people. The smiles and hugs were evidence of the delight which the Craft-Bilt gifts brought to the Arc and PDDC clients.
Craft-Bilt also is a major sponsor of the annual Arc and PDDC Golf Outing, sponsoring several teams of Philadelphia School District students.