Charitable decorating contest brings joy to employees, food to community

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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While many workplaces engaged in festivities and competitions to get employees in the holiday spirit this year, employees at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Philadelphia went a little further to embrace the spirit of giving.

A workplace-wide competition to create festive holiday displays using non-perishable goods culminated on Dec. 20 as a team of judges, led by DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, thanked employees for their efforts both at work and in their charitable donations to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

“I am grateful for what you all do every day for the Warfighter and our nation,” Lawrence said to employees. “But the greatest thanks today are for what you have done in the spirit of the holidays to support our local communities in need.”

DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence addresses employees from the Medical supply chain Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia during the judging of this year’s holiday decorating contest.
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence addresses employees from the Medical supply chain Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia during the judging of this year’s holiday decorating contest. The Medical team constructed a Christmas display incorporating a life-sized snowman made of canned goods. This year, all of Troop Support’s holiday decorating scenes were constructed with non-perishable goods to be collected and donated to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence addresses employees from the Medical supply chain Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia during the judging of this year’s holiday decorating contest.
Charitable decorating contest brings joy to employees, food to community
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence addresses employees from the Medical supply chain Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia during the judging of this year’s holiday decorating contest. The Medical team constructed a Christmas display incorporating a life-sized snowman made of canned goods. This year, all of Troop Support’s holiday decorating scenes were constructed with non-perishable goods to be collected and donated to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Photo By: John Dwyer III
VIRIN: 191220-D-XL571-0070

In the beginning of December, Lawrence challenged the workforce with a goal of creating displays consisting of non-perishable food items to be part of a competition to further enhance the positive workplace culture and give back to the community.

The inspiration, he said, came from DLA Troop Support Executive Officer Susan Schafer, who has been a part of the organization’s holiday decorating competitions through the years.

“I was thinking, ‘What can we do that’s different this year,’” Schafer said. “And it all of the sudden just came to me. We’ll do the decorations, and the decorations will be with food. Non-perishable food donations. And we’ll donate it to a shelter.”

The concept was embraced by employees, and seven groups joined the competition, submitting displays ranging from a simple hearth to a mini holiday village built with hundreds of cans and boxes of non-perishable food.

DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence inspects the Peanuts-inspired display created by the Business Process Support office for a holiday decorating contest Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia.
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence inspects the Peanuts-inspired display created by the Business Process Support office for a holiday decorating contest Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia. The BPS team created a display modeled after the Peanuts cartoon character Snoopy and his pals. This year, all of Troop Support’s holiday decorating scenes were constructed with non-perishable goods to be collected and donated to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence inspects the Peanuts-inspired display created by the Business Process Support office for a holiday decorating contest Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia.
Charitable decorating contest brings joy to employees, food to community
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence inspects the Peanuts-inspired display created by the Business Process Support office for a holiday decorating contest Dec. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia. The BPS team created a display modeled after the Peanuts cartoon character Snoopy and his pals. This year, all of Troop Support’s holiday decorating scenes were constructed with non-perishable goods to be collected and donated to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Photo By: John Dwyer III
VIRIN: 191220-D-XL571-0116

When it was all said and done, the judges ranked the top three displays to be:

  • First place - the Industrial Hardware supply chain’s “CAN-dytopia”
  • Second place - Subsistence supply chain’s “Home or away: Subsistence is there”
  • Third place - Business Process Support staff office’s Peanuts-themed holiday display

Though the total donations are not officially tallied, IH contract specialist Taylor Fontana says her supply chain’s display inspired a lot of donations.

“(IH) loved the idea of food donations to build the display,” Fontana said. “We made it an internal competition, and our total was over 2,000 non-perishable items.”

A gingerbread house sits at the edge of a winter village constructed by employees at DLA Troop Support’s Industrial Hardware supply chain in Philadelphia Dec. 20, 2019 as part of a holiday decorating contest.
A gingerbread house sits at the edge of a winter village constructed by employees at DLA Troop Support’s Industrial Hardware supply chain in Philadelphia Dec. 20, 2019 as part of a holiday decorating contest. The IH team assembled their village and included a skit with surprise appearances by Santa Claus and the Grinch. This year, all of Troop Support’s holiday decorating scenes were constructed with non-perishable goods to be collected and donated to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
A gingerbread house sits at the edge of a winter village constructed by employees at DLA Troop Support’s Industrial Hardware supply chain in Philadelphia Dec. 20, 2019 as part of a holiday decorating contest.
Charitable decorating contest brings joy to employees, food to community
A gingerbread house sits at the edge of a winter village constructed by employees at DLA Troop Support’s Industrial Hardware supply chain in Philadelphia Dec. 20, 2019 as part of a holiday decorating contest. The IH team assembled their village and included a skit with surprise appearances by Santa Claus and the Grinch. This year, all of Troop Support’s holiday decorating scenes were constructed with non-perishable goods to be collected and donated to the Emergency Relief Association Food Pantry of Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Photo By: John Dwyer III
VIRIN: 191220-D-XL571-0009

Lawrence, while judging the displays alongside his wife Rebecca and DLA Troop Support Deputy Commander Richard Ellis, thanked participating offices for their efforts and donations, wishing each a safe and happy holiday season.

“I am impressed by what you all have accomplished this calendar year, and by the spirit of giving you have clearly embraced in this competition,” Lawrence said. “And I am proud to lead this great organization, whose workforce provides stellar Warfighter and community support.”