Food is Love. This is Rodney and Jennifer Parrett’s family motto. ”When you love someone, you take pleasure in cooking food that they love and in nourishing them. We have always accepted this as a mantra in our family,” Rodney states. When the Parretts decided that they wanted to donate to a charity, they looked long and hard to find an organization that would share their family’s values. They were drawn to Freestore Foodbank’s mission to provide food and services, create stability and further self-reliance for people in crisis. “We agree with the Freestore Foodbank’s premise that food creates a powerful connection that builds trust and lays the foundation for bigger things to come,” says Rodney. “This is the fundamental reason why we decided to support the organization.”

Rodney works for BlueScope, a global producer of branded, coated and painted steel products. His contribution to the Freestore Foodbank takes full advantage of his employer’s Corporate Matching Program. This is part of the company’s “Our Bond” or “BlueScope Bond” program which is a commitment by the company to the communities of its employees. The BlueScope Foundation of North America matches up to a specified limit of an individual employees contributions each year. It annually provides funding to 90 different non-profit organizations which adds up to close to $450,000. “When your employer offers an amazing program such as this, it is silly not to be able to take advantage of it,” says Rodney.

Rodney and Jennifer both come from small towns and are familiar with the hardships that come with poverty. They were high school sweethearts who got married 27 years ago and started their life in Gary, Indiana which is still known for its poverty-stricken neighborhoods and alarming crime rate. Rodney and Jennifer love the Freestore Foodbank’s commitment to not only “feed the line” but also “shorten the line” by giving individuals the tools to stabilize their lives and eventually become self-sufficient. “We are grateful to my employer BlueScope for supporting us in our effort to make a difference in the world,” says Rodney. Rodney and Jennifer’s contributions, doubled by BlueScope, support Freestore Foodbank’s workforce development programs and other services that help our neighbors build stability and self-reliance for themselves and their families.

Thousands of companies locally and nationally match their employee’s contributions to nonprofit organizations, usually at a one-to-one match but sometimes as high as three-to-one. Some companies also offer volunteer matches, providing a donation for each hour their employees volunteer with a nonprofit organization. These programs offer individuals a wonderful opportunity to double, or even quadruple, the impact of their contribution. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware their employer matches gifts or volunteer hours, and each year 90% of donations eligible for these programs go unmatched. To see if your donation to Freestore Foodbank is eligible for a matching gift from your employer, contact your human resources department or check online

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