GE’s Product Definition Engineering Department has been working the Freestore Foodbank’s first day of Thanksgiving Food Distribution for more than eight years, according to Stephen Venneman, Advanced Lead Designer, who is wrapping up his 30-year career with the company this month.
“This event is always a great opportunity for our team to come together in the spirit of the holiday,” he says. “Any staff members who do this once, always sign-up again; each year when we put the roster out, it fills up almost immediately.”
There was a big group on-hand at our Customer Connection Center on Monday, November 24; nearly 40 employees covered two shifts, helping to distribute chicken, turkeys and the fixings for a holiday meal in the Food Room, as well as taking shopping carts full of holiday meals and fresh produce to clients’ cars, the bus stop or even to their front door, if they live in the neighborhood.
“We work for a company that is very supportive of community service work,” says Stephen. GE keeps volunteers ‘on the clock’ when they are on-site volunteering; in addition to serving with the Freestore, GE also supports Matthew 25 Ministries as well as Habitat for Humanity.
“The first time we came to volunteer at the Freestore,” he says, “was for Thanksgiving Holiday Operations in 2006. “It was freezing; when we turned down Liberty at 7:00 a.m. and saw the line stretching around the block, we all fell silent. To see that in person; I think it really hit home for most of us.”
Stephen is planning on continuing his volunteer work post-retirement. “This event helps remind me of for what I’m thankful.”
A group from the Cincinnati AAA Allied Group office ‘reported for duty’ on our first day of Thanksgiving Food Distribution, inspired to serve after hearing from a Freestore Foodbank speaker at their United Way workplace campaign kick-off event several months ago. Kim Martin, Director for District Offices and Nancy Petrosky, Human Resource Manager, explained that their division is putting into practice a quarterly staff volunteer activity to support United Way agency partners.
“We want to demonstrate ‘our dollars in action,’ said Kim, “as well as to educate our employees and encourage them to get involved.”
“There’s a lot of excitement about serving at the Freestore today,” said Nancy. “Several of our employees working the next shift are bringing their families and children.