Not just a source of food, a source of inspiration

This past Saturday night several of us from WhiteWave attended a fundraiser to benefit Community Food Share (CFS), a local organization that serves as a safety net for those who are hungry in Boulder and Broomfield Counties. I’ve gone to this annual event for several years and not only is it a fun night and a chance to spend some time with colleagues and friends in the community, it also helps connect me back to one of the things that makes WhiteWave so special.

Last week our company president, Blaine McPeak, hosted a luncheon with a randomly selected group of a dozen employees. He routinely does this to get to know people better, to find out what’s on their mind, ask them questions, encourage them to ask him questions, etc. About half way through the lunch he asked, “What do you like about WhiteWave?” and almost immediately a woman said, “I like that we work with Community Food Share. I love volunteering there.’’ Two other employees chimed in to echo her sentiment.

As I was sitting at the event Saturday night Jim Baldwin, CEO of CFS spoke very highly about WhiteWave as he mentioned the financial contributions, product donations and volunteer hours we’ve provided CFS over the years. It was hard not to feel proud as Jim spoke eloquently about how much WhiteWave means to CFS. But frankly, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much CFS means to WhiteWave. I think it’s pretty remarkable that one of the things employees like most about our company is our commitment to those in need in our local community.

Last year our employees volunteered 6,000 hours in the local communities in which WhiteWave is present – 800 of which were spent at CFS. What’s even cooler is that at WhiteWave we actively encourage employees to spend time volunteering and even offer paid time off to do so.

So when an organization like CFS sees a 20% uptick in the need for food assistance from its 57 member agencies and its own direct service programs – we can step in and help. Sadly, you never want to hear that an organization like CFS experiences a 20% increase in demand for its services, but I am thankful that WhiteWave can play at least a small part in helping CFS achieve its mission by making sure people receive healthy food.

As CFS noted in the event brochure they distributed Saturday night, “While there certainly have been signs of improvement for some in our community, for many others, especially for those living in poverty, the struggle to decide which to pay for – rent, utilities, medical expenses, gas and food – is a daily one.” Please, if you’re at all interested in learning more about how to feed the hungry in your community check out the Feeding America network, of which CFS is a part. Together we can make a difference.