Construction company partners with management to give back this holiday season
VANCOUVER — Chris Swagerty loves making new connections. As a project manager with Katerra construction, he’s been doing that all over the country for years.
This time of year, he and his coworkers bless the residents of the structures they renovate and build. Right now those are the folks at the Fort Vancouver Terrace Apartments; currently being renovated by Katerra.
“We feel very passionate about, you know, giving back everywhere we can,” Chris said. “There’s nothing better than giving during the holiday seasons, especially to those that are in need. And, you know, those in the low income section 8 housing are some of the ones in most need.”
Every holiday season, the company teams up with the management at the locations they’re working on to provide holiday gift baskets to the residents. Kristi Cervantes loves blessing the people in her community as much as Chris does. She manages Fort Vancouver and has been organizing similar holiday gift events for years.
“With this being the year that has been really troubling for the whole world, there’s been some good in it,” Kristi said. “The fact that they’re getting a makeover here, and the gifts for Christmas, and the Heathman Lodge working with us, and everything going as smooth as it is, I have to say that it hasn’t been such a negative impact on our community. I’m thankful for that.”
The Fort Vancouver apartments are Section 8 Housing and house many low income families and individuals. With the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic weighing on the entire world, such residents have been hit much harder in some cases. Kristi and Chris said it was incredibly rewarding to give gifts to such people during this time.
“I was reminiscing earlier today about last year on how we had a huge party indoors and there was no catered food,” Chris said. “We were raffling tickets and prizes and it was a lot of fun. It changed this year, obviously, but we’re still bringing the energy.”
Katerra has remodeled and upgraded more than 11,000 units in the affordable housing classification, and specializes in the field. The company works to improve the livability and feel of affordable housing across the country. The current work being done at Fort Vancouver will be completed at the start of the summer this coming year.
Normally only the children receive gifts when the apartments do this, but this year with the pooled resources of the construction company and management they were able to spare no expense and curate full gift baskets for every family. Everything from Christmas ham to Godiva chocolates, and even a gingerbread house kit for the children, was included.
The pandemic has certainly made it difficult to do certain aspects of this holiday tradition, but Kristi and Chris both explained that with basic CDC guidelines being followed, and a little ingenuity, they were able to create a pick up location and even bring some baskets directly to residents. In other words, mission accomplished.
“To give to them, it’s just extra special,” Kristi said. “When Katerra said they were going to contribute what they did, it was just so heartwarming, because these residents definitely deserve it.”
All in all they distributed 131 holiday meal packages to feed 380 residents.