Hometown Caring: The Vonage Food Drive

Vonage business phone: Food drive image in AtlantaEmployees Increase Hunger Awareness and Mobilize.

Most everyone recalls annual holiday food drives in their communities and the good feeling that hungry families might be a little better off because of the tireless work of organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB).

But when the holiday lights come down, the fact is that donation efforts during the rest of the year suffer by comparison. And while the plight of hunger in our community remains year round, organizations like the ACFB simply don’t have the ample food donations during the “off season” months.

A Summer Drive Inspires

For the second straight year, Vonage Business chose mid-summer to initiate a company-wide food donation drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

“We’re sold on the amazing work of the ACFB, and like last year, we wanted to donate during a time when not many people do,” says Amy Tankersley, a product manager at Vonage Business and member of the Creative Events Team that organizes company outreach efforts like this.

To encourage employees, a competition between departments was devised with a points system earning teams extra points for donating “featured” food items each day – whole wheat pasta on Monday, brown rice on Tuesday, etc. Daily updates reported department totals and announced the next day’s bonus-point food item.

By the end of the effort, Vonage Business teams had collected 2,435 pounds of food, exceeding the total from last year’s initiative. Upon delivery, ACFB staff reiterated the important timing of the donation when summer donations are typically low.

Renewed Awareness, Sense of Community

When a company rallies around a cause, particularly one as urgent as hunger, the instinct for helping often becomes an inspiration or critical mission.

“We were looking for a way to give back to our own community, and we knew we had a group of employees who would put their hearts into the effort,” Tankersley continues. “But in the course of interacting and talking about what we’re doing, it really makes you take a pause and realize that hunger is a very real problem here in the Atlanta area where we live. And we’re lucky to have organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank.”

Confirming the dire need in the community, the ACFB reports distributing an entire warehouse of food roughly every three weeks. And keeping perspective in the summer: 60% of Georgia’s public school children are in the free/reduced fare school meal program, but only 15% of them have access to a summer feeding program – leaving many of them to go hungry throughout the summer.

“We’re proud we can do something to help, and I would encourage other metro-area businesses to support the ACFB,” says Tankersley. “Our teams enjoyed the competition we created and we were working together on something that really matters.”

The Atlanta Community Food Bank procures more than a million pounds of food and groceries each year and distributes it to more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies serving families and individuals in 29 metro Atlanta and north Georgia counties. To learn more and find out how to donate or participate, visit www.acfb.org.

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