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December 07, 2004: Bring on the pounds

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My office has done a few things together, for charitable work. This past summer we spent two (very long) Saturdays doing construction work for Habitat for Humanity and best of all everyone still seems interested in doing it again. Plus my boss and at least a few of my coworkers seem really interested in being a little more socially and environmentally conscious. So when I started tossing around the idea of trying to challenge the other offices to see what they could do as well, my boss was nothing but encouraging. We bounced some ideas back and forth and ultimately decided that if we were going to try to get a company-wide charitable event, it was best to start small. After all, it needed to be something that everyone could participate in as much or as little as they were comfortable, yet benefit local communities, not require sending things off to one central location. So we decided on a food drive. There are food banks in every city where our company has an office, and food drives are one of the easiest things to organize because it requires nothing more than some cheerful encouragement, and maybe a poster or two.

There are five offices in our company, and I was able to pinpoint one contact person in most of the offices who thought the idea of a company-wide food drive was a great idea. All offices, that is, except one. I was actually a little surprised when I was passed from person to person, all of whom made it obvious that they were not the slightest bit interested, nor did they think they could get any excitement about it from the rest of their team.

It was rather discouraging. It's kind of hard to do a company-wide event when one fifth of the company doesn't want to take part, and for the rest of us to go ahead with it anyway would make things uncomfortable. I wasn't sure quite how to proceed, until I finally managed to find one person who was willing to coordinate, even if not very enthusiastically.

The five of us put our heads together and set goals for our own offices, based on what we thought we could accomplish. I set the goal for my office a little high, but I had faith in my coworkers. We kicked off the food drive in mid-November, and in our little office, 50 pounds of food showed up on the very first day. But then, over the past three weeks, that's been about it. Emails from the other coordinators showed similar lackluster donations. I started to worry that maybe this wasn't going to work out as well as we had hoped.

Yesterday, however, the Monday of the fourth week, my office, at least, pulled through. Not everyone was in yesterday due to schedules or vacations, but those who did come in showed up with huge bags of rice and beans. Suddenly we were within pounds of our goal. This morning, the money donation jar has lots more change in it, and a few sacks of citrus fruit pushed us comfortably over our office goal, three whole days before the end of the drive!

I'm not sure how the other offices are doing, and if they'll also see big final pushes for donations. I'm crossing my fingers though. It would be really nice if we managed to pull this off. I know that a food drive isn't much, and there's a lot more I wish that I could encourage the other offices to do. But if this food drive succeeds it will be the first time they've managed to get a company-wide event to work. I figure for food banks, every little bit helps. And I have to admit that I'm proud of our office for not only meeting, but exceeding our goal. I guess next year we're just going to have to set our sights a little higher.

This has been a Holidailies entry.

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