Earlier this year, Hodges-Mace rolled out four company values, one being Our people and our communities matter. Hodges-Mace cares not only about our work, but our communities and each other. Each employee can currently take two paid days off each year to perform community service.
While these wonderful opportunities exist throughout the year, I was recently given the opportunity to coordinate a company-wide effort during the month of June. Our Summer of Service initiative further promotes our company values by giving each employee an additional half day off during this month to volunteer at a charity of their choice. To make it even easier for employees to find charities they might be interested in, I coordinated with eight organizations to create 15 volunteer opportunities where individuals, teams, and even family members were encouraged to sign up!
Here are some of the great organizations we worked with:
- Meals On Wheels Atlanta – The mission of Meals On Wheels Atlanta (MOWA) is to support senior independence through meals, shelter, education, and community. One of our volunteer dates trained H-M employees to deliver meals using their own cars and gas to MOWA clients in the metro Atlanta area. The other volunteer date, which I had the privilege of joining, allowed a group of H-M employees to assist with packing 700 meals in their full-service kitchen while another group spent time in one of their Adult Day Health Centers playing bingo, cards, and chatting with their seniors. We were also able to leave our company mark on a handmade quilt!
- Chastain Horse Park – The mission of Chastain Horse Park is to serve riders of all ages and abilities, helping them to attain their highest potential in areas of cognitive, physical, and emotional development through the therapeutic relationship with a horse. Our volunteers braved the warm June temperatures on two different dates to help with various projects to improve the facility, including raking the horse exercise walker, cleaning and organizing grooming tools, raking leaves, cleaning tack, tidying up the sensory trail, and overall landscape beautification.
- Atlanta Humane Society (Howell Mill and Mansell Campuses) – The Atlanta Humane Society serves about 25,000 animals each year and places approximately 8,000 dogs and cats into forever homes and prides themselves on being a part of the solution to end pet homelessness and overpopulation in the southeastern United States. We had one group volunteer at the Howell Mill Campus and another at the Mansell Campus to help their trained staff prepare the shelters for opening by cleaning, shredding paper, categorizing donated items, and more. And of course I am sure they snuck in some puppy and kitten cuddle time too!
- Atlanta Community Food Bank – The Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) helps direct quality grocery items to over 600 non-profit partner agencies in metro Atlanta and the north Georgia area. We coordinated two volunteer dates for H-M employees to visit and help sort, inspect, and pack donated items. These items included both non-perishable and perishable goods, as well as non-food household necessities, such as paper products and toiletries.
- PAWS – PAWS Atlanta is a private, nonprofit animal welfare organization founded in 1966, originally as the DeKalb Humane Society. They provide love, nutrition, medical care, and basic training to enrich the lives of homeless animals until permanent, safe homes can be found. Our H-M volunteers cleaned, organized, landscaped, and socialized with the animals.
- Lift Up Atlanta – Lift Up Atlanta is a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping the homeless and hungry by providing services and programs that range from feeding the homeless on the streets of Atlanta to their job readiness/self-empowerment program to promote self-sufficiency. A group of H-M volunteers helped set up the exhibit hall and fairgrounds area for the 3rd Annual Summer Fun Festival. This festival helps collect school supplies for children in need and raise funds for all the programs that help the community, including their Community Closet that provides free food, clothing, household goods, personal hygiene items, etc.
- Bobby Dodd Institute – Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI) empowers people with disabilities and disadvantages to maximize their potential by securing economic self-sufficiency, independence, and integration into society. Our first volunteer date had H-M volunteers help in their clothing closet by inspecting and sorting donated clothing to assemble sample work-appropriate outfits. Our second volunteer date later in the month has H-M volunteers conducting mock interviews, as well as reviewing and providing feedback to help strengthen clients’ résumés.
- Camp Twin Lakes – Camp Twin Lakes provides life-changing camp experiences to thousands of Georgia’s children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges. H-M volunteers visited the camp on two dates to help their organic farm. Camp Twin Lakes grows 80+ different varieties of fruits and vegetables on their organic farm that are used in camp programming and served in their dining hall.
We have a total of 175 employees and family members signed up to volunteer throughout the month, with that number increasing more and more as people come back with smiles and positive remarks about their volunteer experiences. Our hope is that our employees find a connection to the organizations so they will want to carry on their volunteer work throughout the year and continue to demonstrate our company values to show why Hodges-Mace is such a great place to work!