Sharing What We Do Well

You’ve seen a bunch of posts about Share What We Do Well Month that took place throughout the month of October at WhiteWave. We’ve had this huge poster hanging in our lobby where employees have shared and written about their various volunteer experiences.

SWWDW Poster

We wanted to share some additional photos of our employee volunteer groups spending their days at Growing Gardens, an urban farm near Boulder and helping with Boulder flood relief efforts.

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Month-Long, Company-Strong Volunteer Month

Throughout October, nearly 1,800 WhiteWave Foods employees rolled up their sleeves and participated in the company’s Share What We Do Well Month, a month-long volunteer initiative created to give employees at all WhiteWave locations the opportunity to make a difference at organizations in their local communities. Many of the organizations chosen align with WhiteWave’s commitment to environmental responsibility and the promotion of food security – concepts inherent in the company’s goal to “change the way the world eats for the better.”

Many WhiteWave employees volunteered at their local food banks including: Community Food Share and Food Bank of the Rockies in Colorado, Free Store Food Bank in Cincinnati, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, Maryland Food Bank, North Texas Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Banks in California and Florida. Volunteers helped sort, organize, pack and weigh more than 70,000 pounds of donated food.

 

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So All May Eat

Last week, a group of WhiteWave employees volunteered at SAME Café as part of the company’s Share What We Do Well Month. SAME Café serves an amazing cause and we were grateful to spend part of our day there.

SAME is an acronym for “So All May Eat,” and the café’s mission is to serve good food for the greater good and build a healthy community. The restaurant’s philosophy is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy food while being treated with dignity. Last year, SAME served warm, delicious meals to nearly 20,000 people.

same cafe3

SAME opened in 2006 as the first nonprofit restaurant in Denver and is run by an incredible husband and wife team, Brad and Libby Birky. This restaurant is more than unique as it is all about food and community, and not price. Instead of a cash register, a donation box is available for people to pay what they feel their meal is worth. If patrons can’t give cash, they exchange an hour of volunteer work at SAME for one of the café’s meals which are made-from-scratch with mostly local and organic foods. We saw a number of folks sit down for a warm lunch and then ask for a mop to clean the café’s floors or supplies to wash the windows.

The WhiteWave volunteer team scrubbed dishes, made pizza dough, chopped organic veggies, peeled roasted red peppers and served plates of delicious lunches. We had a great time helping.

For those in the Denver area, SAME is open most days from 11a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is located at 2023 E. Colfax Ave.

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Friday at Food Bank of the Rockies

Last Friday, members of WhiteWave’s Legal, Communications and Corporate Services team volunteered at Food Bank of the Rockies for WhiteWave’s Share What We Do Well Month. Food Bank of the Rockies, located in Denver, provides food to more than 350,000 people annually by distributing 88,000 meals each day through over 1,000 hunger relief partner agencies and its own direct service programs.

We volunteered in the distribution area of the warehouse where we filled orders for member agencies by pulling food from the shelves and packing it on pallets to be picked up by the agencies. At times, it felt like  playing a giant game of Tetris to get all of the food to fit on the pallets! We had a great time working together to help further a cause that’s so meaningful.

Food bank of rockies

Night in a Box

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 More than 100 people gathered last weekend to raise money and awareness for the homeless and impoverished in Denver by sleeping in cardboard boxes in a parking lot in Northeast Denver. As part of the event, we also walked around the neighborhood in small groups after dark to engage with people who frequent the streets at night, including people in Triangle Park (a known gathering spot for the homeless).

The event was a success in several ways – we learned valuable lessons and raised almost $23,000 for Encompass, an organization founded to uplift orphans, single moms, and widows in downtown Denver who are in need, and A Strong Tower Ministry, a Christian organization that helps men and women reenter society after prison. Here are some of my takeaways from the night:

  • I have more in common with some people who are homeless than I have differences. During our neighborhood walk, I spoke with a woman in her 30’s who is a registered nurse and who was leading a “normal” life until two years ago when she became addicted. In addition, a few of my fellow box dwellers were former convicts and homeless individuals who had been helped by the organizations we were raising money for. It is sobering to think how a few bad choices can drastically alter the course of your life.

 

  • I really like my privacy and the comforts of my home, which I take for granted. The hardest part of the night wasn’t sleeping on the ground (although my neck was pretty stiff the next morning), it was the lack of privacy and freedom. All night from my box, I could hear the noises of the night – the sounds of traffic, emergency vehicles, other box dwellers and people walking by on the street. These noises made it hard for me to fall (and stay) asleep and made me jumpy. And, without the comforts of my own home, I restricted my activities – I limited my water intake so I wouldn’t have to get up in the dark to find the porta-potty, and without lights or window shades, we had to go to sleep and wake up with the sun.

 

  • It feels very vulnerable to be out on the street without a safe place to run home to. Walking around at night, even in a small group, was scary at times. We were sleeping in a fenced-in parking lot, with several men serving as security guards throughout the night, but without walls, doors and locks it still felt vulnerable. During the night a few “true” people of the night tried to jump the fence and stir up trouble, which made me glad that my homeless adventure was ending in the morning.

Overall, the event gave me renewed empathy for people who are homeless and renewed gratitude for the many blessings and resources I have been given. Below is a shot of me from this interesting night.

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Are you friendly? Do you have two hours? We need you.

As many of you know, WhiteWave Foods has been a longtime supporter of Community Food Share (CFS), our local food bank and member of Feeding America. Community Food Share’s 25th annual “Hunger Hurts the Whole Community” food drive takes place March 20-31 and if you live in the Boulder/Denver area, they need your help.

CFS is looking for friendly grocery store greeters to hand out bags and remind shoppers to donate food.  Shifts usually last two hours and greeters are needed in most of the grocery stores in Longmont, Lafayette and Louisville, Colorado. Just two hours of your valuable volunteer time can easily generate more than 200 pounds of food, which is enough food to feed a family of four for two weeks.

CFS has discovered that when it has greeters to engage people at the store, donations rise significantly. We have a group of WhiteWave employees already signed up to help our local food bank, and you can help too. Please consider volunteering as a store greeter – this can be a great family experience that can help the whole community!

Interested?  Contact Sue Ericson at sericson@communityfoodshare.org  or 303.652.3663 x202

Thanks for helping us help those in need in our local community.

Values in Action

At WhiteWave Foods, being involved in our communities and treading lightly on the environment are important to our team members.

Values in Action (VIA) is our employee program that promotes volunteerism, community involvement, and environmental events and initiatives. Employees can log VIA points when they do things like volunteer, carpool to work and even use the stairs instead of the elevators (and we all know stair climbing is good for the quads). When all of the VIA points are collected at the end of each year, our employees are rewarded with prizes such as gift cards to our delicious Wave Café. A couple of lucky dogs even went home recently with iPad Minis.

One of our core values that helps guide us in our daily work is “Share What We Do Well.”  This value inspires us to find innovative ways to make a difference in our local communities. We’re proud to report that in 2012, WhiteWave employees volunteered more than 13,500 hours (that’s 562 days!) supporting a variety of non-profit and industry organizations such as Community Food Share (CFS), which is part of the national Feeding America network. In fact, during our annual Impact Day, WhiteWave employees provided close to 1,100 hours of service in just one day – serving more than 200 families and organizing more than 12,000 pounds of food at our local food banks.

A few months into this new year, and we’re busy working towards beating our 2012 VIA goals and continuing to make a positive impact in our local communities. Check back later in the year to see our progress.

 

WhiteWave and Growing Gardens

Over the weekend, WhiteWave and our brands were honored to receive the “Good to Grow” and “Roots and Shoots” awards from Growing Gardens, a Boulder nonprofit organization whose mission is to “enrich the lives of our community through sustainable urban agriculture.”

Since 2000, we’ve supported Growing Gardens (mostly with a lot of weeding!) because we saw the promise in their efforts to educate people about growing their own food and making good food choices.

One of our core values that helps guide everything we do is “Share What We Do Well.”  This value inspires us to find new and innovative ways to make a difference in our local communities, and we couldn’t live it without partners like Growing Gardens who provide us with opportunities give back.

Click here to learn more about how you can volunteer at or support Growing Gardens.

Share what we do well

Mandy McMichen, Attention Homes Volunteer of the Month

If you follow this blog, you know that as an organization we take community outreach and volunteerism pretty seriously. It’s integrated into our culture, our day-to-day job responsibilities, and even our personal annual objectives. And as part of those efforts, everyone is also encouraged to match the volunteer hours they give on company time, with the same amount of volunteer hours on personal time outside of work. It’s more of a recommendation than anything; there’s no policy that requires the time match. But you’d probably be surprised to see how many people actually meet that match.

There’s definitely no shortage of stories worth sharing in that regard, but one in particular stood out this month, as WhiteWave employee Mandy McMichen was recognized as Volunteer of the Month by Attention Homes, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving at-risk youth in the area.

According to Attention Homes, “Mandy always looks for something to do and someone to help. No stone is unturned and certainly no cooking pot left unfilled!”

Mandy shared her thoughts on her experiences in the Attention Homes newsletter, check ’em out below, and congrats to Mandy!

AH: Why do you donate your time and efforts to Attention Homes?

MM: I work at WhiteWave Foods. Our President Blaine McPeak, recently implemented “Impact Day”, a day that our offices close after lunch and employees are sent out into the community to volunteer. He asks each employee to match those volunteer hours with personal time to really make an “impact” in our community. I loved the idea, but had no idea where I would volunteer my time. I learned that WhiteWave sponsors Attention Homes’ Kaleidoscope event and after reading more about it online, I knew it was just what I was looking for.

AH: How does your donation affect you and your life?

MM: Cooking healthy food for Attention Homes’ kids is such fun! They seem to really enjoy the food and often come in to chat or help me. I am becoming a familiar face around the house. I enjoy both listening and talking with the kids – I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel! Attention Homes is such an amazing organization. I am so proud to be a part of it. I’m doubly blessed to have the opportunity to work for a company like WhiteWave Foods that encourages all of us to give more of ourselves to our communities!

Pie in the face

It’s been a wicked hot summer here in Colorado, and to beat the heat we decided to cool down the old fashion way… by throwing pies at each other.

Just kidding. The pie in the face fun was actually part of a fundraising event for our friends at Community Food Share. Employees here in Broomfield got to buy raffle tickets for a chance to pop an executive in the face with a pie.

Overall we raised more than $2,000 which is equal to 8,000 meals.

Check out some highlights from the fun below. And let us know in the comments – If you could pick anyone in the world to hit in the face with a pie, who would it be?