A colleague from Bangalore visited our Dublin, CA office and saw racks of clothes in a section of the hallway. He was wondering why they are there, are they for sale? I told him we are collecting clothes as part of “Wardrobe for opportunity”. They are donations for people who can’t afford professional clothing when going for a job interview. I also told him, we also address more basic needs.
America, the land of plenty, it’s hard to believe that millions of people still go hungry. But it’s true, right here in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, under the shadow of multi-billion dollar companies, live people who are struggling, the homeless, the low income, the working poor.
Coinciding with SAP’s Month of Service, a group of us from Labs IT picked the theme to end hunger. We volunteered to work in the “Second Harvest Food Bank”. SAP “Month of Service” started out as a challenge from our customer – Home Depot, asking their suppliers to provide community service, SAP answered the call, and we’ve been doing this for 10 years now.
The food bank distributes more than one million pounds of nutritious food each week to low-income people in need in every zip code in the
bay area. They efficiently distribute food by collaborating with a network of more than 330 partner non-profit agencies operating 770 different food distribution sites.
It is run like a logistics enterprise, food donations are collected, stored in warehouses, sorted for content, repackage into small units and distributed to agencies that provide direct services to the people in need. These agencies include homeless shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, children’s programs, senior meal sites, and residential programs.
We sorted food into food groups, protein (like canned fish), vegetables, fruits, grains, cereal, even snacks. They are packaged into boxes, where the agencies for example, a soup kitchen, can order exact number of boxes of canned fruit depending on the need.
Throughout the year, volunteers contributed more than 316,000 hours of service, which saved the food bank $6.6 million in equivalent personnel costs. We’re glad we contributed in our small way, and we had fun doing it.