Social responsibility is important for inMark Media Group.  Let’s face it, many of us seek a higher purpose in life and giving our time to help others is a way we can all make a difference.  When our CEO, Franco Cabral and COO, Marco Vitolo suggested an office volunteer event I jumped at the chance to coordinate.  After some searching we decided on the Food Bank for Westchester in Elmsford, NY.

As I was preparing this post I was surprised to learn that 1 in 6 people in America faces hunger according to dosomething.org.  World of Hunger reports in 2015 an estimated 12.7 percent of US households suffer from food insecurity.  The USDA defines “food security” as the lack of access, at times, to provide enough food for all household members.  According to nokidhungry.org 48.8 million American (including children) live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis!  According to Food Bank of Westchester in Westchester County, approximately 200,000 people are at risk of facing food insecurity with 33% of those children and 22% seniors!!! These stats were shocking to me!

Food Bank for Westchester is a member of the Feeding America network whose mission is to feed America’s hungry through their network of food banks.  For over 28 years, the Food Bank for Westchester has been leading the fight against hunger in Westchester County by supplying food to soup kitchens, pantries, group homes, daycares, shelters and other local programs.  They acquire, warehouse and distribute to member agencies throughout Westchester County.  Food Bank for Westchester has developed partnerships with local businesses through programs such as:

Children’s Program

  • BackPack Program which provides children with backpacks that include meals to take home on weekends & vacations.
  • Kids Cafe, which provides hot nutritious meals/snack for children at risk at locations throughout Westchester County.

Mobile Programs

  • Senior Grocery Program which distributes groceries to senior centers and senior programs.
  • Mobile Food Pantry which brings meals to underserved communities.

Fresh Produce Initiatives

  • Green Thumb, where they purchase fresh food from local New York State farmers.
  • Food Growing Program, working in partnership with local organizations (The Farm, The Farm Co-Ops) to grow fresh organic produce while training the community on how to grow food.

On Tuesday, May 16th team inMark arrived at the Food Bank for Westchester’s distribution center at 9am.  Warmly greeted by Volunteer Coordinator Jandery De La Cruz we were escorted to a room with 4 huge containers filled with donated shopping bags filled with non perishables, 2 large tables in the center of the room and about 4 smaller tables labeled by food type.  Our task was to sort donated shopping bags (checking for expiration dates & quality – open or used food was immediately discarded), classify food by type and repack by category.  We jumped right in picking stations and started to work.  Wherever team inMark goes there are always two things: work and fun and this was no different. We joked & laughed and kept with our motto of Having FUN While Getting it DONE!  After about 2 hours we successfully cleared out all of the containers and were led on a tour of the distribution center by Volunteer Services Manager Nancy Lyons.  Nancy explained the history of the Food Bank for Westchester, its need to continue feeding the hungry and the impact and importance of volunteering.  The distribution warehouses food collected from the many partners across the county.  We saw huge piles of food. A freezer with perishables and trucks ready to head off to making deliveries.  At the close of our visit we took a group shot and left with a sense of feeling good because we did good!

Thank you to Food Bank for Westchester for allowing us to participate in your Volunteer Program.  This experience was humbling for us.  The opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to our community and to those less fortunate was one we will not forget.  Thank you to inMark Media for allowing us to participate as a group and creating a culture of compassion at inMark Media.

If you or your organization are looking to start volunteering, we at inMark recommend your local Food Bank.  Visit Feed America for a location near you.