Cultivating Our Values in the Community: Generosity Day

Talia Escandar / 14th April 2017 / Comment

Continued Focus on Generosity

Generosity Day began at Wheelhouse with a single guiding principal – to make sure that we provide the greatest help we can directly to people who need it.

For each Generosity Day, which takes place every quarter, we divide into teams who collaboratively decide who we feel most passionate about helping. With this approach, we are able to help multiple groups in a single day – increasing our community impact. Teams are named after some of our Wheelhouse values and “sponsored by Wheelhouse” – each team is provided a budget to support their causes, purchase supplies, provide meaningful donations, and more.

During the process of preparing for and experiencing Generosity Day, we also have the opportunity to engage with our peers on a different level – and get to know each other better, including the issues, causes and passions that are important to each of us. Finally, we have the privilege of getting to know some of the people we are able to help.

(To learn more about why we began the tradition of Generosity Day, check out our blog post: Developing Our Values Through Generosity Day.) Last week, we participated in our first Generosity Day of 2017, committing over 75 volunteer hours and $4,500 towards community causes and organizations in one day.

Here are some of the organizations we were able to support:

City Fruit

Team Empathy: Reclaiming the Urban Orchard

For this Generosity Day, Team Empathy partnered with City Fruit to support urban orchards in Seattle. City Fruit promotes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish people, build community, and protect the climate.

Urban fruit trees are a valuable community resource, yet often fruit goes unused because people are not sure when to harvest it, how to best use it, or they are put off by damage caused by preventable disease and pests. City Fruit works towards “reclaiming the urban orchard, showing people how to harvest what they need, and to share the rest with others.” They help tree owners grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit, and work to protect urban fruit trees.

On Generosity Day, Team Empathy helped maintain some public fruit trees, which otherwise receive no care from the city, located by the P-Patch in the University District. We pruned and helped maintain the space around the trees to promote tree health and make it easier for City Fruit to care for them & harvest fruit. Team Empathy also donated to City Fruit, to help them acquire new netting supplies for tree care.

What we learned:

  • Twenty percent of families in King County, including nearly 80,000 children, are food insecure, meaning that they do not know where their next meal will come from.
  • Additionally, half of these families are not eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps). City Fruit helps to fill that gap.

Since its founding, City Fruit efforts have grown from an initial harvest of 10,000 pounds in 2009, to over 50,000 pounds last year. Learn more about City Fruit volunteering opportunities on their website.

Unbound Seattle

Team Empathy also had the opportunity to donate to Unbound Seattle, a local non-profit whose mission is to make a difference in the lives on children, women, and men impacted by human trafficking in Seattle. Visit their website to learn more about Unbound Seattle and how to get involved.

North Helpline Emergency Services and Food Bank

Team Helpfulness: Nourishing the Community

Team Helpfulness volunteered at North Helpline Emergency Services and Food Bank, which focuses on providing all members of the community with adequate food, housing, and respect. As part of their mission, they assist their neighbors in obtaining basic needs that affirm their dignity and worth. During our time at North Helpline during Generosity Day, we worked alongside other volunteers and North Helpline team members to handle food donations (9,000 lbs!) from local businesses, unpacking, sorting, doing a quality assurance check, and repacking the food in containers that would lend to easy distribution for those in need.

“I am glad I could be just a small part of what North Helpline does for the community. Volunteer work is great for the soul – and in this case the body too!” –Laura

This was the first Generosity Day experience for Senior Paid Search Analyst, Laura Pattison. Volunteering with North Helpline hit home for Laura, due to past experiences working with youth at a low-income high school in Virginia. North Helpline anticipates helping community members in need, just like some of the students Laura had the opportunity to impact as a teacher and a tutor.

Mount View Elementary

Team Helpfulness also had the opportunity to support the 1st Grade Class from Mount View Elementary (a high-poverty school in the Highline School District we continue to volunteer with) by partially funding technology devices through DonorsChoose.org.

Their Donors Choose project is looking for additional funding before August 1st, and we invite you to consider contributing!

Tent City 5

Team Helpfulness also donated tents, tarps, blankets, and other “high need” supplies to Tent City 5 (located just a mile from our offices).

Seattle Union Gospel Mission

Team Joy: Serving the Homeless & Food Insecure

Team Joy partnered with the Seattle Union Gospel Mission, who provides emergency care and long-term recovery services to hurting and homeless people in the greater Seattle area. Team Joy served lunch for over 200 individuals, helped prepare dinner for that evening and donated hundreds of toiletries, socks and other sundry items for those in need.

The opportunity to contribute to Seattle Union Gospel Mission felt especially impactful to Team Joy because Seattle has seen a nearly 20% rise in homelessness this year and many more individuals are food insecure. The mission feeds over 200 people for almost every meal, serving as many as 700 people during the weeks in the second half of the month when money and resources are often low.

There were two key things that we took away from this experience:

  1. We were amazed by how truly thankful everyone was that we were there to serve food and help make sure everyone had a chance to eat. Everyone was appreciative not only for the food, but aware that it was being served by volunteers and acknowledged the kindness in serving the meal.
  2. It was a great bonding experience for our team members. Many of us don’t always have an opportunity to work together on a daily basis, so to be able to spend time together on a project that helps others lives in the Seattle community was a great way to connect with our team.

Wheelhouse in the Community

Looking for volunteers, or opportunities to partner with Wheelhouse DMG for community projects? Check out our In the Community page to see our work or better yet: Send us a message and let’s chat about how we can help your organization! We’re already planning for our next Generosity Day (Date TBD – Summer 2017).

 

By Talia Escandar