Pledge This Year is an ongoing blog series throughout the month of January focused on volunteering with Good Shepherd Food Bank. It showcases the diversity of individuals and organizations that volunteer with the Food Bank and encourages readers to make the pledge to volunteer in 2017.
By Ryan Fecteau, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Whether a national corporation or a mom and pop shop, businesses can encourage volunteerism among their employees. By doing so, employees are met with a greater sense of community and purpose both inside and outside of the office. TD Bank, which offers banking, insurance, brokerage, and investment services in over a dozen states, leads by example. The company provides its employees with time for volunteering and connecting with community causes.
Shelby Wagg is one of those TD Bank employees who makes the most of the volunteer time. A little over a year ago, Wagg’s boss decided he wanted his leadership team to have more opportunities to give back to the community. He contacted Beth Tatro, volunteer manager at the Food Bank, to foster a relationship between the company and our organization. As a result, the TD Bank employees joined up with Tia McCulley, Central Maine Field Representative at the Food Bank, to help with The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). TEFAP is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA sends food products to food banks across the nation, and the food banks distribute the food to communities in need.
“I was definitely surprised by the size of the warehouse, the number of people working there, and the sheer amount of food,” shares Wagg. “It was also really cool to hear about the various programs [like TEFAP] that were run out of the warehouse.”
Wagg, who lives in Lewiston, was not aware of the tremendous scope of the Food Bank’s work—serving all 16 counties in Maine. As a volunteer, Wagg assists with the TEFAP program…
“I’d be there once a week, if I could,” she adds. “I don’t have as much opportunity or free time to do this on my own. So, I am thankful that TD provides us with this time.”
In addition, Wagg is joined by a few of her colleagues. Using the time allotted by TD Bank, Sue Atwood also volunteers at the warehouse in Auburn. In fact, Atwood started volunteering for the Food Bank many years ago. When she first volunteered, the Food Bank was still located on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.
“I got linked up [with the Food Bank] years and years ago,” recalls Atwood. “I grew up in a family that was food insecure. So, it has always been a passion for me.”
Atwood, like Wagg, appreciates the time provided by TD Bank to volunteer in the community. She has a family and the many responsibilities of raising one. If TD Bank did not provide the time during the workday, finding that time after work would be difficult for her.
“I would not be able to do as much as I do without the support of TD,” acknowledges Atwood. “There is such a sense of fulfillment that comes with [volunteering].”
She encourages her colleagues to experience that sense of fulfillment. In many ways, Atwood has stepped up as a volunteer recruiter. She plans out the volunteer days a year in advance with the Food Bank and, subsequently, TD Bank employees show up on a quarterly basis for a three-hour morning or afternoon shift.
“[My colleagues] are amazed by the size of the warehouse, but also how fast the food turns over,” she says. “I also don’t think people are aware of all the programs. For 99 percent of the people, it is an eye opener. And many people sign up to do it again.”
Both Wagg and Atwood expressed encouragement for other businesses considering similar volunteer programs for their employees. Both agreed the volunteer experience positively impacts their work and home lives. In other words, settings aside time for volunteer opportunities is not time out of the workplace, but rather a professional development tool.
“Please do it. The time that you allow your employees to volunteer will help energize them, give them a sense of purpose, and will help them connect with their community,” offers Wagg. “They will bring this back to their workplace and to other employees.”
For more information about volunteering at Good Shepherd Food Bank, contact Bethany Tatro at 207-782-3554 ext 1169 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit https://www.gsfb.org/get-involved/volunteer/ for more information.
You can make the pledge to volunteer in 2017, visit Feeding America’s website: http://www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/campaigns/volunteer/← Back to Latest News