Last week at RISE, a custodian told a Nordic team member about the weeding and mulching work, "I would never have been able to do all this by myself." It's a humbling reminder that a single afternoon of our time can have an enormous impact on other people's lives. Even (or especially) when life feels busy and we feel unable to spare a single minute, giving back to our communities is the most important thing we can do to serve each other.
This year for Community Giveback Week, the Nordic team visited 11 organizations across five cities, including Madison, Boston, Chicago, New York City, and San Diego. We’ve included a few details on the locations we visited and the great people we worked with to give back to people and communities in need.
Preparing lunch at The River Food Pantry in Madison, WI
We took a small but mighty group of Nordic employees to The River Food Pantry to help prepare lunch for the pantry’s clients. The team filled carts with fresh bread and produce in the pantry’s grocery section and had a chance to meet many of The River’s clients.
“They were so friendly and grateful for our participation, but we were really the lucky ones,” said Human Resources Assistant Mandy Albertie. “We met many wonderful people who either take the time to volunteer in their retirement or are clients of the River Food Pantry themselves, looking for a way to give back to an organization that helps them.”
Building a playground at RISE in Madison, WI
About 25 Nordic employees helped prepare the site to build a playground at RISE on Friday. The team weeded the playground and rain garden areas, followed by mulching the playground and rain garden to ensure a great growing season.
“It was a big project, and we enjoyed getting it completed,” said Practice Director Bridget Bell. The team certainly got their exercise in for the day moving all that mulch!
Sorting donations at the Jacobs and Cushman Food Bank in San Diego, CA
The Nordic crew in San Diego visited the Jacobs & Cushman Food Bank to sort donations, remove expired food, and organize the good donations into categories. Last year, the food bank distributed 26 million pounds of food and serves, on average, 370,000 people per month in San Diego County. We felt lucky to be part of this important work to serve a vulnerable population.
“We received feedback on how easy our group was to work with, and they appreciated how much we were able to get through in the two hours we were there!” said Practice Director Sheryl Berndt.
Making tacos for the residents of the YWCA Madison
A few members of the Nordic team visited the YWCA Madison with fixings for a delicious taco meal. The YWCA has around 100 residents, and a portion of that group came to eat tacos and chat with the Nordic team. There was plenty of food to go around and leftovers to spare!
"All the residents who ate with us were very thankful and appreciative," said Corporate Counsel Irina Brault. "The people who worked there said they would welcome us back any time."
Serving dinner at Breakthrough in Chicago
Nordic provided a pasta dinner and dessert to 35 men in Breakthrough’s transitional shelter. We served dinner to the residents directly and spent time getting to know more about them and the organization as a whole. Breakthrough provides numerous services to men, women, and children in East Garfield Park, including homeless intervention, early childhood education, violent crime de-escalation services, and numerous meals for those living in poverty.
“We had a wonderful experience serving the men at Breakthrough,” said Practice Director Brooke Logan. “They told us they appreciated us visiting them numerous times.”
Making cards for the Badger Honor Flight in Madison, WI
The Nordic team gathered in the home office to make celebratory cards for U.S. veterans taking the Badger Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to view the memorials that have been erected in their honor. While the team’s card-making ability left something to be desired, we had a lot of fun applying American flag stickers, using plentiful amounts of red, white, and blue, and thanking the veterans for their service.
Going on a nature walk with residents of the Oakwood Village Retirement Community in Madison, WI
Around 10 Nordic team members visited the Oakwood Village retirement community to garden, walk, and spend time with the retirees who live there. The team worked one-on-one with residents to plant vegetables and flowers in their personal planters, followed by a nature walk on Oakwood's paved nature trails.
"It was valuable to spend one-on-one time with them outside talking about their history, families, and general hobbies," said Office Operations Manager Jessica Schmidt. "Our group made the most of our afternoon, and I cannot wait to go back next year."
Cheering on participants at the American Heart Association Heart Walk in New York City
Four Nordic team members were stationed at a water stop at the American Heart Association Heart Walk in New York City last week. The team members were tasked with keeping participants hydrated and motivated.
“We used our charm to keep them going for the last mile or so!” said Practice Director Gwen Harkins. “It was an amazing experience, and we would gladly do it again.”
Preparing for a children's triathlon with Tri 4 Schools
Nordic volunteers worked with Tri 4 Schools, a non-profit that supports kids as they run, bike, and swim their way to healthier lives, in preparation for the Waunakee triathlon on Saturday. The Nordic team helped move items to a storage facility on Monday and on Friday set up the triathlon course for Saturday's event.
Playing bingo and singing karaoke at Hale House in Boston
The Nordic team spent time with residents of Hale House on Wednesday evening, playing a few rounds of bingo and singing karaoke (which turned into a disco and Tina Turner dance party). The residents all live off a fixed weekly income, so the bingo prizes were highly sought-after and will serve as a help to buy small necessities.
“We enjoyed their company and hopefully they enjoyed ours!” said Practice Director Kellyn Black.
Organizing meat shipments at Second Harvest Foodbank in Madison, WI
Nordic's team of 21 volunteers worked together to organize meat shipments received at Second Harvest. The team divided the shipments by type of meat and put them into boxes in preparation for the food to be delivered to recipients that week. Below, you'll see the team sporting the latest hairnet fashion in the foodbank.
"The group was quick to jump into action and packaged over 1,100 boxes!" Training Specialist Tara Nigh said.
We're grateful to work with a team that cares so passionately about the communities in which we live and work. We look forward to seeing you out there all year and at Community Giveback Week 2019!