Are you looking to get involved with National Volunteer Week?
For those in the dark, the inspiring week takes place this April 7 to 13 across the country – and it’s as good of a reason as any to give back to the community.
As one of Canada’s largest hunger relief organizations, Daily Bread Food Bank (Daily Bread) is an amazing and inspiring organization to volunteer with – and one that offers options when it comes to donating your time. “Volunteers help out Monday-Friday 9:30am-3:30pm year round,” says Pam Bastedo, Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Daily Bread. Not only can you volunteer as an individual, many companies make a team-building initiative out of it.
Fun, energetic events like Daily Bread’s Food Sort Challenge make it enticing and exciting to get involved. Taking place this year on June 20, the event involves a competitive test of speed, as 18 teams race each other and the clock to pack 3,500 lbs of food in 90 minutes or less. Afterwards, teams are encouraged to mingle and enjoy snacks and a complimentary drink. “Our Food Sort Challenge is one of the most exciting fundraising events out there,” says Bastedo. It’s all about teamwork – working together to be as efficient as possible.”
“By far, the most memorable part of the day was seeing the team come together for the challenge,” said Radhika Sharma of Toronto-based company Slalom of the Food Sort Challenge. “It was Slalom’s first time participating in this challenge, so we walked into it not knowing what to expect. As the challenge went on, it was awesome to see each member take on a role and come together to complete the challenge successfully.” Not only is the event memorable, it offers a first-hand look at Daily Bread’s operations, which houses an on-site food bank, as well as an industrial kitchen that prepares 5,000 meals weekly for drop-in programs across the city.
“The biggest takeaway for me was visiting the warehouse and understanding the scope of what Daily Bread accomplishes. Only after participating in the challenge was I able to roughly understand how much food they provide to individuals experiencing hunger in our city,” said Sharma.
For companies looking to get involved, the first step is making the decision to do so. “Just do it! Our entire relationship with Daily Bread started with a Google search and sending an email – they make it so easy to get involved in whatever way you’re looking to, whether it’s their online fundraising portal, monthly volunteer opportunities, or more,” said Emma MacDonald, another Slalom employee. “Whether you’re looking for something for a company, your family or friends – there is such a need out there and Daily Bread is able to help you find the best way to get involved.”
For any business, it’s important to give back to local communities – in fact, ideally, it should be something that is reflected in an organization’s core values. “It’s important for us at Slalom to impact our local communities – these people are our neighbours and Daily Bread allows us to reach our most vulnerable in our community to provide them with something as fundamental as food,” said MacDonald. “The relationship we have developed with the people at Daily Bread is more than just about money or time, it’s about impact and driving meaningful and positive outcomes.”
There is the fear that it may be too much to get involved with, but – as Bastedo assures – this isn’t the case. “Some may think that volunteering may be too much of a time commitment, or perhaps that it is going to be taking away from ‘work time,’” says Bastedo. “More and more we are seeing companies really focus on building company cultures that have made giving back to the community a core value. Making volunteering a part of employee engagement can yield great results in making them feel accomplished, impactful and energized.”
Daily Bread could not do what it does without its corporate volunteer groups. “We have over 10,000 volunteers help us out every year and corporate teams make up over 50 per cent of that total,” says Bastedo. “These awesome teams help us sort millions (yes millions) of pounds of food, bag fresh veggies and also help prepare nutritious meals in our kitchen. We are always looking to connect with companies to create meaningful and strategic partnerships that will have a positive impact in our community – and on our partners’ corporate culture.”
“At Slalom, we are highly invested in our core values – celebrating authenticity, doing the right thing always, smiling – these are all things that are exemplified in our relationship with Daily Bread,” says MacDonald,” “Employees are able to have a meaningful impact on communities and rally behind a common goal. It drives connection between team members and makes us feel good.”
To find out how you can get involved, visit the Daily Bread Food Bank website.
Take a closer look at the Daily Bread’s Food Sort Challenge in the video below.