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Author: Hannah Chittum
When I first learned that the Serve Week starting April 27th – which our team had been planning for months – would be shifting to a virtual format, I wasn’t sure what to expect. How could something so special – so ingrained in Foundry’s culture – translate when we weren’t all together, serving organizations alongside one another?
So, when I was on a call with Nick McKinney and Brittney Wimberly a few weeks ago, and they brought up the idea of stopping by the homes of some of our local associates, I knew I wanted to be a part of that. Nick and I live close to one another, so we decided to team up and ride our bikes to visit a few nearby associates. We wanted to show them we miss seeing them and appreciate all the work they’re doing remotely. We mapped out a few of the associate’s homes that were within biking distance and planned to start early Wednesday morning with a surprise breakfast at Scott Renaud’s home.
Our initial thought was that we’d make it to a few other associates’ homes within a mile or so of the Renaud home, but once we got started, we were so excited by everyone’s reactions that we decided to keep going. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon on Wednesday, we stopped by the homes of eight Foundry associates, seeing bright smiling faces of not just our associates but their family members as well. It felt really good to surprise people throughout the day, and it reminded me how much I miss seeing these people in the office on a daily basis. (I also realized how nice everyone’s families are… I was offered all sorts of refreshments along the way!)
When it was all said and done, Nick and I calculated a 15-mile ride, which would normally seem really long and exhausting to me, but it ended up being so much fun that I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the distance or length of time at all. It was rejuvenating, actually.
I saw face masks featuring adorable zoo animals that had been hand-stitched and made to share with children in South Florida. I heard about one associate whose family bought lunch from a popular local BBQ restaurant for the staff of her child’s daycare to thank them for staying open and providing a safe and stable environment for children. Some associates took time out of their busy schedules to serve front-line workers who are risking their own health to ensure others are taken care of during this challenging time.
I heard about associates who went back into the office (approved this one-time only!) to bring cookies to colleagues whose roles have necessitated they remain in the office the past 6+ weeks. Other associates shared how they reached out to residents who are feeling – well, isolated – at a local assisted living facility and shared notes of love and support. Still others brought care packages – by jet ski, no less – to neighbors who were running low on supplies. And others made an intentional choice to support a local restaurant by ordering dinner or to bolster the exhausted volunteers of a local food bank by donating much-needed dollars.
I’m excited for the day when we’ll get to serve with one another in-person again, but I’m also appreciative for the opportunity to work for an organization that figured out a way to serve others while we’re all working remotely. #itspersonal #sfh