FICS®: Giving Back to Our Community
For many Americans, the holidays revolve around family and fabulous meals—not necessarily in that order. The average American consumes a whopping 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, sometimes taking that plentiful feast for granted. However, not everyone is so fortunate. Getting enough to eat—on the holidays and throughout the year—is a struggle for more than 800,000 people (including 300,000 children) in the North Texas area who are food insecure.
Fortunately, the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) provides hunger relief for many children, seniors and families. This Dallas nonprofit hunger relief organization distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of more than 200 Partner Agencies in 13 counties, providing more than 190,000 meals every day to hungry individuals. Last year NTFB and their feeding network provided access to almost 72 million meals.
NTFB depends on financial and practical support from dedicated volunteers. Demonstrating FICS’ commitment to giving back to our community, 29 FICS® employees, friends and family recently volunteered at the new NTFB distribution center in Plano, TX. The FICS® team spent a couple hours on a Saturday morning assembling boxes and packing non-perishable foods. Working together gave FICS’ staff a chance to connect with each other away from the office.
Helping others who are less fortunate comes naturally to one member of FICS’ Report Writer System Support team, who often gives his restaurant leftovers—or even part of his lunch on his way to work—to homeless people. “I can find something somewhere else, but they may not be that fortunate,” he says. “Volunteering is important to me because providing time to help others can’t be replaced in any other way, shape or form. I find great joy in spending my time positively impacting others’ lives.”
FICS’ Special Projects/Conversions Manager was excited to participate with her husband and 10-year-old daughter because she “can’t stand the thought of any child experiencing hunger for very personal reasons and first-hand experience. It’s also important for me to be reminded of the existence of a world outside of my current self, and to help my children experience that.”
A relatively new member of FICS’ Technical Support team wanted to have an opportunity to interact with his coworkers outside the office. He “enjoyed how quickly each of us began innovating on our individual roles. Once we established a process for our volunteering, everyone started looking for better, more efficient ways to optimize our assembly line.” Efficiency and innovation are highly desirable traits in a technical support guy!
“Teamwork” was a highlight of the NTFB volunteer experience: “Everyone was there not only to help out those who needed food, but also to help each other be as efficient as possible.” “I’m proud of how many meals the FICS® team assembled and liked knowing we all, even some of us who’d never met, were coming together to do something positive for the community, and frankly, for ourselves.”
Many people volunteer to give back to their community and/or make a difference in people’s lives. As an added bonus, volunteering is good for your health and well-being! According to the Mayo Clinic, volunteering is associated with several physical and mental health benefits:
- Decreases the risk of depression, especially in older adults (> 65 years)
- Helps people stay physically and mentally active
- May decrease stress
- May help you live longer. According to data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging, people who volunteer live longer than people who don’t, even when controlling for age, sex and physical health
This holiday season and beyond, follow FICS’ lead and make a difference in your community. Visit www.volunteermatch.org to find one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups in your area.