“Tell them I’m your favorite driver!”, said our conductor as we hopped off the bus after our food delivery shift was over.
This past Tuesday a team of 8 SAP Concur employees took time out of their busy days to give back to the communities – on company time. In today’s tight labor market, employers have to become more and more creative with their incentives in order to retain talent. At SAP, employees are encouraged to volunteer time in their communities to the point where there’s an entire engagement program built around it. During August, global leads for the Corporate Social Responsibility program, are encouraged to plan a volunteer event to encourage employee engagement while giving back to the community.
On this particular day, our team participated in the Meals-On-Wheels program offered by the Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services in Toronto. This not-for-profit organization established in 1929, offers various social services for the local community spanning from youth, employment, housing, to music and senior services. Many of the city’s most vulnerable residents depend on this organization for the most basic needs. According to this report by Volunteer Toronto, “Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services needs 40 volunteers a day for their Meals on Wheels program to run smoothly”, with this, it’s able to serve over 500 clients and deliver over 72,000 meals each year.
The experience was a win-win for both the recipients of the food and our corporate team.
None of the volunteers had ever participated in the program before but all were very excited to lend a hand in the community. As we were driven off to our delivery locations (the driver was provided by Dixon Hall), we were each given instructions on how each delivery must be done as well as a short background on the recipients. “For most of these people, you’ll probably be the only person they see or speak to all day”, explained our program coordinator as she handed off our instruction sheets. This was a particularly touching moment as we realized the food was probably the least impactful part of this whole initiative.
As we all completed our respective drop-offs, anecdotes were shared, jokes were cracked with our charismatic driver, but most of all things were put into perspective. Every single person we handed off a meal to, opened the door with at least a smile on their face and at most a few jokes. We wondered how they paid for their food and learned that although some of the meals are subsidized, they mostly pay out of their own pockets. This, of course, is not something they can afford on a daily basis, so we also wondered how many times a week they could actually afford a nutritious meal and how many people don’t even have access to such a program.
Although not all of our questions were answered, a couple of things were for sure:
- That WAS our favourite driver, and
- We’re very fortunate to work in a company that encourages its employees to go out and spend the day serving their community.
We enjoyed it so much that we’ll be doing it all over again at the end of the month.
If you or your organization are interested in participating in Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services’ Meals on Wheels program, follow this link to learn more about how you can get involved.