GSF Foundation volunteers in Charlotte, North Carolina did not let the Coronavirus health pandemic stop them from carrying on with their annual Bike Building Program. In March, QCD Charlotte associates delivered 41 fully assembled bikes, along with helmets, locks, water bottles and Chick-fil-A gift cards, to their local Boys & Girls Club.
This marks the fifth consecutive year that QCD Charlotte has given back to its community through the Foundation’s Bike Building Program. Although volunteers missed their annual tradition of building bikes together with the kids, this year’s donation will still bring smiles for miles, as the children ride their new two-wheelers this spring.
“The kids started picking up the bikes we purchased and built in late March, just as we’re all looking forward to some nice spring weather and more outdoor activities,” said Pete VanSaun, Safety & Training Manager and GSF Foundation Assistant Chair for QCD Charlotte. “With everyone spending more time at home right now, it’s so important to give these children a chance to stay active and go out for bike rides.”
Foundation committees in Irvine, California and Orlando, Florida also plan on participating in the Bike Building program later this year. A core program of the GSF Foundation, this initiative provides second- and third-grade school children in need with their own, and often very first, bicycle they build themselves under the guidance of a caring mentor. This program teaches fundamental life skills, such as goal setting, safety, the value of hard work to achieve goals, and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through physical activity.
In response to the evolving Coronavirus health pandemic, GSF Foundation has quickly taken action to help children and families in need during this unprecedented time. Foundation leaders have fast-tracked nearly $200,000 in food bank grants through matching funds for local Foundation committees.
“We’re seeing more food insecurity now, as children miss out on free school lunches and families grapple with job loss or reduced hours due to Coronavirus health and safety ordinances,” said Tess McAnena, GSF Foundation Executive Director. “Our associates are stepping up in this time of need to support the most vulnerable members of the communities where they work and live.”
A Food Engineering article published on March 20 covered the Foundation’s efforts to help neighbors in need, in response to Coronavirus. In an interview with the outlet, Dr. Wayne Morgan, GSF’s Corporate Vice President and President, Protein Products and Sustainability, shared, “At the heart of Golden State Foods, we have our associate-led, associate-funded GSF Foundation that has already taken action to help children and families in need during this challenging time. Our Foundation leaders are currently fast-tracking food bank grants and offering matching funds for our facilities’ local Foundation committees to support neighbors in need in the communities where GSF associates work and live.”
Nearly 80 percent of associates across the GSF family of companies gave their time, talent and treasure in 2019 to help 80,000 children in need through programs and grantmaking. Collectively, GSF Foundation volunteers donated 6,400 hours serving the communities where GSF associates live and work.
GSF Foundation volunteers from the corporate and IT teams in Irvine measured little feet, sorted shoe boxes, tied up new laces and shared many smiles with local school children who received new shoes (and socks!) this month. Associates donated 365 pairs of shoes to young children at two schools in Southern California, adding toward GSF’s overall total of 1,217 pairs donated this year.
One in six children in the United States is hungry. In the communities surrounding KanPak Penn Yan and KanPak Arkansas City, that number is even higher with one in five children under the age of 18 struggling with food security. On November 21, GSF Foundation volunteers in these two U.S. cities helped combat childhood hunger with Feeding Hunger: A “No Lunch” Lunch events.
KanPak Penn Yan associates welcomed their local communities, event sponsors and the news media to gather around the table for a soup kitchen-style meal at Brock’s Bowl & Pizzeria. The second annual “No Lunch” Lunch event raised awareness and $18,500 for New York’s Foodlink.
“Kids who have reported food insecurity get backpacks filled with food for weekends and holidays,” said Julie Burke, Foodlink’s director of development. “Our mission is to leverage the power of food to end hunger and build healthier communities. There is no greater example than this event, with a company that makes food products helping those who live here. We are extremely grateful.”
In Arkansas City, associates raised $7,953 to support Kansas City Food Bank during the facility’s third annual “No Lunch” Lunch. Local charities, religious leaders, corporate sponsors and community volunteers gathered together for the inspiring event, held at KanPak’s warehouse.
“We give our community a taste of childhood hunger to raise awareness and funds, so we can feed local children who need our support most,” said Connie Shire, GSF Foundation Chair for KanPak Arkansas City. “We’re thankful for our volunteers, sponsors and donors for making this annual tradition possible again.”
In October, Golden State Foods associates from Conyers, Georgia and Opelika, Alabama came together to tee off the 10th Annual GSF Foundation Golf Classic at Reynolds Lake Oconee in in Greensboro, Georgia. With 208 golfers on two courses, 90 participating supplier partners and 32 volunteers, the two-day event included a welcome reception, VIP dinner party and silent auction.
In celebration of the golf tournament’s milestone year, Foundation volunteers lined up exclusive access to the golf club’s members only course, Creek Club, which has never been offered for a public tournament before. The tournament’s 52 foursomes included 171 suppliers and 37 GSF associates swinging, putting, chipping and pitching their way around two 18-hole courses.
In thanking the community “fore” all its support, the Foundation gave suppliers who played in the tournament a gift certificate to the golf shop. Six suppliers that sponsored at the $10,000 Hearts, Hands & Hope top level received a custom plaque, along with four $8,000 Rock the House VIP party sponsors.
The GSF Foundation Golf Classic raised a record amount of $136,000 this year, including $16,000 generated by the silent auction alone. The funds will support Foundation core programs like Best Foot Forward and Back(pack) to School, as well as local activities benefitting Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, A Child’s Voice Advocacy, Boys & Girls Haven and more.
“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
– Special Olympics Motto
For the 10th consecutive year, QCD Charlotte associates volunteered for set-up, registration and clean-up to support the 15th annual Truck Convoy for Special Olympics North Carolina. On October 19, local law enforcement escorted a convoy of trucks for 28 miles around Charlotte to drive awareness and raise funds for Special Olympics athletes. GSF Foundation’s Charlotte associates raised nearly $35,000 this year for Special Olympics.
An extra special connection this year, 11-year-old Ben is a Special Olympics athlete and the son of a local truck driver. For the past three years, he attended this event, but felt too nervous to get involved in the presentation. This year, for the first time, Ben bravely smiled for pictures and participated in the presentation.
Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. The organization is helping make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place—one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.
A child’s performance in school can be affected by their attendance. If students are not present in the classroom consistently, they will not be able to achieve their full academic potential. The Pedal to Perfection program was created to help schools raise attendance rates by rewarding at-risk kids for exceptional attendance. By demonstrating perfect or nearly perfect attendance for the school year, kids in the Pedal to Perfection program earn a brand new bike, complete with a helmet and lock.
The Centralized Leasing Company (CLC) GSF Foundation Committee partnered with Craftsmen Trailers for a Pedal to Perfection donation event with Blackburn Elementary School in St. Charles, Missouri. The program, funded by CLC associates, provides brand new bicycles to children with perfect school attendance for the year.
This year, they donated 22 bikes and look forward to increasing their donation with even more perfect attendance next year!
Additionally, they supplied more than 700 books to students who completed reading 150-300 books during the school year. For those who made it through 150 books, the students were allowed to select two books to take home. Those that read 300 or more, were able to select five books to read over the summer break.
Thanks to Tony Mercurio, Crystal Barz, Erin Theobald and Lauren Stuart from Craftsmen for your partnership!
As the GSF Foundation continues to work in local communities to help raise awareness and provide meals for the food insecure, they recently partnered with Kid Healthy on their “Cooking Up Change” event, a student-led movement to create healthy, great tasting meals that meet the real-life requirements of the national school meal program. The contest, which took place at the Northgate Gonzalez Market Headquarters in Anaheim, California, drew 10 local high schools to compete and was hosted by Dan Kohler, Emmy-Nominated Senior Culinary Producer of Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family.…Continue reading »