Lunch Packing

At Beardon, we’re really into community responsibility. A lot of us are from this area, and see it every day– when we drive to work, when we shop, when we’re out on the town. As such, we see the world we live in through the eyes of people, not just the lens of a business machine. Sometimes we see people in need, and band together as a sort of family to help out when we can. Our company likes to rally up and take part in organized community service projects.

We’ve got a lot of small non-profit and service based projects under our belt, but today I’m going to talk about one that we refer to colloquially around the office as ‘lunch packing’.

Daniel, our HR guy, works with a nonprofit organization called heko. A greek word meaning ‘to come to One’, heko is a group focused on bringing aid and hope to peoples in need, especially youths. The group is currently involved with a local alternative high school, Lincoln Academy, in a program the dubbed ‘Limitless’.

One thing that was coming up frequently was a need for food. Students in need could get free lunches from the school five days a week, but on weekends many would not have enough food at home to adequately provide for themselves. Jim, our CEO, spoke with the Pastor John Chaffin at a local church (Christian Missionary Alliance) on the matter. They formulated a plan to put together food bags for the weekend, full of mostly non-perishables, to make sure students had something to eat.

Lunch packing itself was a weekly event. Every Tuesday, one of us would head to the local Wal-mart to pick up our weekly bulk order of food– and it was usually a lot, bags upon bags. At around eleven thirty, we’d all carpool over to Christian Missionary Alliance and lay all the food out on tables to start unpacking.

We kind of all found roles that we fit into well, and made a bit of a game out of how quickly and correctly we could pack food away. Here’s Jim and Daniel working on putting trail mix into bags. At the same station, they packed up bags of cereal, too.

Mike Howell usually went to the bread station, where he’d put two slices of bread into a ziplock to be used for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Most of the rest of us went down the assembly line of other goods. A Yoohoo, a Caprisun, two Nutrigrain bars, peanut butter crackers, cheez-its, pudding, ramen, oranges, a few pieces of candy… each filling a bag, with Veronica working quality control at the end and checking bags to make sure all the bags were full.

Every week, we put together exactly sixty bags. These bags were put away into six large bins, and left in them until Friday, when Daniel and Pastor Chaffin would take them up to Lincoln to distribute to students before they left for the day.

Beardon started the program in October of 2015, and met every week all the way through May of 2016 to put together a total of 1,520 bags. We met for a total of four hundred and twenty five man-hours, and provided nearly $7,500 in food. Interns and full-timers alike, everyone from the newest employee to the CEO, we all worked together and convinced more of our peers to join in.

Through the program, and our interactions with Lincoln Academy, Beardon caught wind of some families who would struggle to make ends meet around Thanksgiving. We put together a full Thanksgiving dinner for two families– ham, yams, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, the works– then we went and visited with the two families for a little while, sharing some compassion and getting to know them. We felt like we made enough of a difference that we did the same for two more families around Christmastime.

All in all, I think Beardon and its employees really did something good. After we finished, we received praise from Lincoln’s own Carla Harnley, thanking us for our efforts and letting us know that we made a difference in the lives of a lot of young people. It’s one of my proudest efforts, at least, and I’m glad I got to play a part in it.

For more information on what Beardon does in its community, give our About Us page a read! In the meantime, I’m going to sign off here. Next time I might have something a bit crazier to write about, so stay tuned.