Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility
Toast.org, Toast’s philanthropic branch, is driven by our company’s purpose to enrich the food experience for all, with a focus on our three pillars of giving: food, community, and environment.
Through Toast.org, we are dedicated to solving critical food issues that impact communities around the world and are especially focused on addressing food and nutrition security, an issue that has been exacerbated because of the pandemic. Data from the USDA indicates that more than 34 million people (including 9 million children) in the US are food insecure, and according to Feeding America, the pandemic has especially increased food insecurity among families with children and people of color. To make an impact on this issue, we were eager to get involved in Hunger Action Month this year and to engage Toasters in locations around the US, and even around the world.
One of the highlights of my role is working with our Local Committee Chairs. This is a group of Toasters that come together from all around the world to help us host meaningful and impactful events in local communities. They’re able to identify volunteer opportunities in their communities, energize groups of volunteers, and help us spread the mission of Toast.org to Toasters all across the globe. When I learned more about Hunger Action Month, and in particular Food Bank Day on September 2nd, I suggested that we participate and, as always, the Local Committee Chairs enthusiastically agreed.
Together, we were able to host 20 volunteer events, providing Toasters across the US and Ireland the opportunity to give back to their local communities. Not only does this help the Toast.org team achieve our purpose, but it also helps employees feel connected to things that are important to them.
“With so much chaos going on in the world, it feels incredibly good to give back and try to make a difference where we can. It’s why I’m so involved with Toast.org,” Stephanie D., Strategic Growth Manager, reflected. “The event I put together for Hunger Action Month at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina was especially close to my heart. While growing up with a single mom who was in the restaurant industry, I dealt with food insecurity as a child, and I remember all too well what it’s like to not know where your next meal is coming from. My mom and I actually received emergency food boxes from this food bank quite a few times, so coming full circle to be back as an adult and being able to be on the volunteering end is something I will never forget!”
In addition to serving those around us, these events are also very meaningful to building community within Toast. Our Local Committee Chairs are instrumental in planning and executing these events, which bring together Toasters from across the business.
“I organized an event for New York Toasters with Food for Life. We were able to prepare and serve meals to the homeless population in the Lower East Side.,” said Pooja S., Product Designer. “This was such a meaningful experience because it allowed me to view food, something that permeates through every aspect of our company, through a whole new lens. Seeing how we can utilize food to uplift and empower the communities we live in was a transformative experience, because it reminded me of the collective potential we have to make change in the spaces of food insecurity, inequality, and inaccessibility. Getting to serve alongside Toasters who represent different demographics and lines of businesses made it all the more meaningful- a true testament to our #OneTeam value!”
While searching for partners to volunteer with, it’s important for us to remember that each organization will have unique needs. Our goal as volunteers is to help them reach their goals. Toasters are innovative and adaptable, which make them open to jumping into unexpected opportunities. Our NOLA event is a great example of this.
“When we got to Second Harvest food bank NOLA and they said we'd be ‘de-tagging ducks,’ I was not sure what to expect,” shared Dylan F., Territory Account Executive. “Then they told us about the Rubber Duck Derby, one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. It is a huge event where thousands of members of the community will sponsor a rubber duck in the race. We detagged almost 15 huge cases, each containing hundreds of ducks. It was so rewarding to be able to take this time-consuming task off their plates and to know our effort was helping them to continue to do the work they do.”
When we reflect about the impact our team can make, it is important to remember that food and nutrition insecurity is a year-round concern for many families around the world. This is something that resonated with Noelle H., Senior Manager, Employer Brand.
“As the Local Committee Chair for Atlanta, I had the opportunity to bring a group of Toasters to the 911 Day Meal Pack Event at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Our group was able to help pack over 170,000 meals to be distributed within the community," shared Noelle. "As a mother of two young boys, knowing that our efforts will help keep food on the table for families in our neighborhoods means so much to me. Although many kids are back in school now, I couldn't help but be reminded of the challenges parents face when their kids aren't in school and able to receive meals there. I hope to organize another event this year, to ensure we're supporting families when they need us the most."
The Toast.org team is grateful for the dedication and passion our Toasters bring to serving their communities, and we look forward to many opportunities ahead to make a difference for those around us.
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