Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Have you volunteered this year?

Each year we’re given the opportunity to take half a work day and volunteer at a local charity or non-profit. This past May, the team decided to devote our time and man power to the Pike Place Market Foundation Food Bank. Split into two groups over two days, employees signed up to help hand out groceries to the elderly, homeless, and working poor within the Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle communities. After the days of volunteering, volunteers were asked why they signed up. Check out what they said:

Cory, Brand Marketing Team: “It reminded me how grateful I am for all that I have. Having helped at the local food distribution centers that supply this food bank, it was gratifying to see who the recipients were and connect with them. Everyone was so grateful. I’m glad our company encourages this annual participation in our community and that we choose this organization. You have to go in with an open mind, a no-judgment attitude, and just provide a smile to each person from start to finish. With only two full-time employees, this food bank isn’t able to operate so they do so with the weekly help from volunteers and they can always use more! We hope to go back and volunteer on a quarterly base.”

Lynn, International Team: “It was a great experience, and I hope to be a ‘regular’ on the Allrecipes volunteer team. The organization knows their consumer…it was wonderful to see the interaction with the frequent clients, they knew what they liked, their special needs…who had a kitchen, and who was homeless. The clients were genuinely appreciative of the food bank and the volunteers that make it work.

I signed up, because I just don’t seem to find the time to volunteer anymore and Allrecipes made it so easy—just block my calendar and go! I learned that I’m so thankful to have a terrific job and not need to worry where my next meal may come from.”

Esmee, Brand Marketing Team: “Spending the morning with my fellow Allrecipes staff members at the Pike Place Market Food Bank was a humbling, yet rewarding experience. It felt good to connect with the downtown community by coming together to make sure that families in need would have food on their table in the week ahead.”

Casey, Ad Operations Team: “Part of the reason I wanted to help out was simply because I was so blown away that our company was encouraging us to help the community during a regular workday. It really is amazing, and unlike any company I have worked for in the past. At the food bank itself, it was a grounding experience to see how many people are in need of the food we were helping to distribute. Seeing that really makes me appreciate the simple things that I normally take for granted, that having food to eat is not a fundamental concern. It was good to be able to help the full-time food bank employees and their regular staff of volunteers, and to make their lives a little easier. Also cool to know that so many of the market stores donate food to that cause, good for them!”

Joseph, New Business Team: “I liked how positive and appreciative the folks who received the food were.”

Seth, Man Tested Recipes Team: “As the executive in charge of handing out dry beans, I learned that when it comes to beans, people fall into one of three categories:
1) People who want beans
2) People who already have beans in their pantry (I’m in this category)
3) People who, when you offer them beans, wince and walk away quickly.”

Liz, International Team: “An experience like that is like no other. So many thoughts go through your mind while you’re face to face with good people who are smart, caring, and funny and have simply fallen on hard times. Thank you Allrecipes for giving me perspective and at the same time, allowing me to help people in need.”

Jen, International Team: “I really enjoyed hawking fresh veggies to the people at the food bank.”

Barb, Development Team: “Spending a half day at the food bank was a truly rewarding experience. I was really glad that we got to interact with the clients there, and see the smiles on many of their faces when they loaded up their grocery bags. It means a lot to me that Reader’s Digest makes time for us to give back to the community. And I bet I got a few people to try radicchio for the first time! Yay antioxidants!”

Deb, Digital Sales Team: “We are surrounded by wonderful food every day at our office. Volunteering at the Pike Place Food Bank gave me a chance to reflect on how fortunate we are, and how easy and rewarding it is to give back to the community. It was also a great chance to spend time with colleagues that I don't normally work with at the office, and was fun!”

Wendy, International Team: “This experience was well worth every moment spent. I plan to volunteer a lot more and as often as I can. Love that we did this!!!!”

Marney, Retention Marketing Team: “Volunteering at the Pike Place Food Bank was a very good experience. It was a great chance to hang out with co-workers and get to know them better. The Pike Place Food Bank has awesome staff and volunteers. I really appreciated being able to help an organization that supports our community.”

Jewell, International Team: “The workers there were very kind and very organized. The variety of people coming through the line was quite interesting. Everybody coming through the lines was nice and appreciative.“

Judith, Brand Marketing Team: “It’s all about community, whether online or helping others in need. That’s why I signed up. Connections. The experience was a reality check to remind me that even when I’m in a hard spot, there are others who really are having a hard time. And even people who need help deserve and want choices. I’m glad the food bank set up offered that—not fixed bags of food, but 'Would you like this or that?' Maybe that’s limiting, but it still honors the individual by allowing choices."

Now if we could select some simple recipes to share for using the fresh foods, that would be good. When do we go back?”

Mackenzie, Editorial Team: “It was a great opportunity to get out of the office and do something for the community that we work in!”

Tad, Human Resources Team: “Overall it was a good experience. I recognized a few faces from Sodo. I don’t volunteer very much, so it was good to get out with AR. I liked how it was connected to the market. I think it’s a good location for us.”

Click here to find out more about the Pike Place Market Foundation Food Bank.

How have you helped your community this year?

Photo from Pike Place Market Foundation.

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