“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
This quote by Helen Keller epitomizes the spirit of community, especially at this “most wonderful time of the year.” It is often hard to think about those less fortunate in our communities and how we’d like to help them, especially with the agricultural economy in its up and down cycle. We are busy paying our own bills and trying to provide a nice holiday for our families. However, if we come together with our coworkers, friends, a church group, or another organization we can make a difference without breaking the bank.
One thing that BioZyme® did during November is gather food for community food banks. That’s right; employees across many locations including St. Joseph, Mo., Haskell, Texas, and Area Sales Managers and other remote workers gathered nonperishable food items for local food banks. Between the St. Joseph and the off-site workers, employees had the potential to donate to 30 banks in 16 different states from Pennsylvania to Texas to Montana to Missouri.
One employee visited a local grocery store where she purchased two cases of canned vegetables, four cans of chicken, a large tub of peanut butter (think non-perishable protein), a box of crackers, a jar of meaty spaghetti sauce and a box of pasta for less than $25. If each person gives similarly, that can feed several people for several meals. And in that employee’s mind, that is two trips through a fast-food drive through for her family or roughly four “foo-foo” coffees for when she gets to the big city – not a major sacrifice for others that are truly in need.
Perhaps your town has a local soup kitchen. Those places are always looking for volunteers to make and serve a meal. Would it really hurt business to shut down to a skeleton crew for a few hours one day to go and serve the community? Perhaps leave a few employees at the store to serve your customers but take the rest to the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to help prepare and/or serve a meal. The gratitude levels do vary, but your personal satisfaction in knowing you made a difference will soar.
Several organizations typically have an opportunity to “adopt a family” by providing gifts and holiday meals for families that might not otherwise have a nice holiday. Adopting a family as a company might seem daunting or not in the budget, but if your company and its employees work together to adopt a family it can be a little easier on everyone’s checkbooks and make a lasting impact on a family. I remember when I worked at another company, we adopted a family with four or five kids one year, and they all needed winter coats and wanted bicycles. Well, we worked with the local Wal-Mart and K-Marts in town to get bikes at reduced rates when we told them what we were doing. Several of my male co-workers who didn’t really want to “shop” all pitched in a set amount – probably around $20 – and we made sure that family had bikes and warm coats. I signed up to help with the delivery that year. And even though we contacted the mom to see if she wanted to have the bikes be from “Santa” she refused. She wanted her kids to know that kind people gifted her kids those bikes. I’ve never seen 7 and 8-year-olds cry tears of joy for coats and bikes, and it was truly one of the best Christmases I’ve ever experienced.
Giving back. It is more fun to do as a group and the impact is often greater. It doesn’t have to put a big hit on one person or company’s checkbook if we all work together to make a few sacrifices to give to those less fortunate. And together, we can do so much more.