Upon occasion in the New York office you might witness a mad dash to the kitchen to battle it out for leftover sandwiches and cookies from client lunches. But throughout the boroughs of the city where we are proud to live and work, there are families who are truly fighting for their next meal. In fact, 1 in 4 New Yorkers – or 2 million of our neighbors – are facing hunger each year.
That’s where the nonprofit organization City Harvest comes in. City Harvest addresses hunger’s underlying causes in NYC by supporting affordable access to nutritious food in low-income communities and education in the prevention of diet-related diseases, making a direct impact on our local community.
As a company so deeply rooted in health and wellness education and disease prevention, a group of W2Oers from the New York office decided to join in on City Harvest’s mission, and help fight hunger and promote nutrition in the city.
Earlier this month, volunteers from WCG, Twist and W2O Digital participated in two City Harvest initiatives. Read on for a recap of the events by the numbers.
Mobile Market in Astoria, Queens:
To promote healthy neighborhoods, City Harvest regularly hosts open-air pop up farmers markets in seven locations around the city where thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables are offered free of charge to qualifying low-income families in the area.
On May 15, nine W2O employees traveled to Astoria, Queens, to staff the mobile market. Over the course of 3 hours, we weighed, bagged and distributed more than 17,000 pounds of bananas, carrots, onions and potatoes to 380 local households.
Hear from participants on the experience:
- Dorcas Lind, MPH, Group Director, Healthcare, Spending a half day with fellow colleagues serving nearly 400 families in need is one of the best corporate volunteer experiences I’ve ever had. Serving fresh produce is not a long-term gratification kind of experience. It is immediate. You know that in a day or two the freshness will be gone and the value has diminished, so the urgency is palpable. The wide eyes of the children and the grandmas when they spotted the beautiful organic bananas said it all. It puts in grand perspective the weekly trips I take to Wholefoods that are taken for granted. I will do it again, with a smile and deep sense of gratitude for all that is given, and received.
- Brianna Kuhl, Digital Project Manager: Volunteering with City Harvest was a great experience and could easily be made into a regular team building exercise for more groups across the New York office. I really enjoyed taking the time out and giving back to a community with daily routines that differ so much to the corporate office world where we can simply walk downstairs or order overpriced fruits/vegetables. The experience definitely puts one in perspective.
- Meredith Crowder, Account Associate, Healthcare: I really enjoyed working for City Harvest; aside from the wonderful cause of bringing nutritious foods into low income neighborhoods, I enjoyed the open and accepting feel that the market had. The people working and volunteering for City Harvest were invested in their cause and making efforts to have personal connections with the people they are helping. I was so glad we were able to take the time out of our day and give back.
Skip Lunch Fight Hunger Campaign:
Coinciding with our Mobile Market volunteer event, City Harvest was running its annual Skip Lunch Fight Hunger campaign from May 12 – 16, during which thousands of NYC companies participated in raising funds to feed hungry children in New York during the summer, when their access to free school meals is limited. More than 400,000 children in New York do not know where their next meal is coming from. A donation of just $10 (the cost of a salad from Chop’t or a plate from Dig Inn) helps feed 41 hungry children this summer.
In our first year participating, the W2O Group team beat our fundraising goal and raised $723, including a generous matching donation from W2O. That’s enough to feed 2,952 children in New York this summer! Total, participating teams raised $420,000.
There’s still time to help – if you’d like to join in the mission to help fight hunger in New York City, donate via the W2O Group team page by May 31.
Thank you to all who participated in these rewarding events – you have truly made a tangible difference in the lives of our fellow New Yorkers. We look forward to incorporating City Harvest into our regular philanthropy efforts, so stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved!