I am truly in awe of people who are always looking for ways to positively impact someone’s life. This is why I am so passionate about and grateful for the role I play in my company’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. I get to work with a committee of colleagues to brainstorm and plan meaningful and rewarding community service projects for our employees.
Recently, I had the privilege to volunteer alongside eight very enthusiastic employees of International SOS Assistance, Inc. (based in Trevose, PA) on the United Way of Bucks County’s Annual Operation Helping Hand project, in conjunction with the Bucks County Housing Group’s food pantry in Penndel. Our company had participated in this project once before back in 2011, and we were eager to get involved again.
Each spring, the Operation Helping Hand food drive comes at an important time for food pantries as their donations drop off following the holidays and their resources get depleted. The program engages public and private schools, child care and senior centers, businesses, and government agencies. They collect and donate non-perishable items, shared among Bucks County Housing Group’s three pantries in Doylestown, Milford and Penndel.
The employees of International SOS were invited to participate in Operation Helping Hand as a two-part project. Part One was an office food drive with a goal of collecting 300 lbs. of non-perishable items in honor of International SOS’ 30 Year Anniversary. Employees generously donated items such as canned goods, pasta, peanut butter and cereal. We exceeded our goal by collecting 466 lbs! Part Two was a hands-on activity supporting the program. Volunteers drove to several locations around Bucks County to pick up the donated food, then brought it back to the pantry to weigh, check expiration dates, sort by category and stock the pantry shelves.
There was an unspoken yet mutual motivation to work with the agency that does so much for those in need. There was an extraordinary power of compassion to do this project for the recipients who are struggling to make ends meet. There was a communal sense of pride to demonstrate how much International SOS cares about our communities. And, there was shared joy and laughter; even when a 24 oz. can of corn dropped on someone’s toes. “I know I won’t be eating corn anytime soon,” commented one volunteer who had packed up several large boxes of canned corn throughout the day.
At the end of the day, nine volunteers (along with the awesome pantry staff volunteers) celebrated a job well done – a job completely well done! International SOS is looking forward to its next United Way of Bucks County project in May!
About the contributor: Patti Cullen oversees the Corporate Social Responsibility program at International SOS Assistance, Inc. She is also the fundraising chair of Soroptimist International of Indian Rock and member of the Pennsbury Lions Club. Patti is passionate about volunteering and advocating for important causes.