Vermeer Corporation has held an annual holiday food-drive for a number of years and the 2012 food drive brought in a record number of donations. Team members from across the Vermeer Mile brought in contributions totaling approximately 100,000 pounds of food. After reviewing the total donation results from the team, the Vermeer Charitable Foundation contributed $1,000 to the cause. The donations are being distributed to central Iowa area food pantries during the holiday season.
Awareness regarding the need and encouragement to make food donations came from various sources. Managers raised awareness of hunger struggles during start-up meetings and letters and emails were shared, but team members from Vermeer Plant 1, Plant 3, the Parts Distribution Center and maintenance decided to make things a little more interesting. “We rallied our troops for a friendly competition, but really it was all for such a great, great cause,” said Bruce Severson of Vermeer.
The plants established a small contest to see which team could raise the largest amount of food. As a friendly incentive, managers agreed to dress up in costumes and/or sing Christmas carols around the different plants. “When we get our managers really excited about this kind of project, our team members actually take it to the next level and that is truly moving,” said Vermeer Chaplain Kevin Glesener.
On December 19, Bruce Severson and a number of others from Plant 3 spread some holiday cheer and caroled through both production and administration areas of Plant 1, Plant 3 and the Parts Distribution Center. “At first, even the thought of singing in front of everyone was pretty petrifying,” said Severson, “but to see the joy and the smiles of all the people who came to listen to us was so much fun.”
As fun as a friendly competition can be, the most exciting part of the project was to see the effect of team members' unstinting donations spread across nearly 15 food pantries. Helping Hands in Knoxville, Iowa, shared their sincere gratitude for the generosity of Vermeer team members. “The Vermeer team assured me and my prayers were answered. Over seven-thousand pounds of food with one phonecall – Vermeer truly saved our Christmas food day,” said Chuck Galeazzi of Helping Hands.
With the help of New Sharon United Methodist Church, volunteers were able to deliver food to pantries with open arms all across central Iowa. “After we unloaded everything at Helping Hands, we had the opportunity to look around the shelter. The serving hearts they have there is inspiring. The whole thing has reallyopened my eyes,” said Chad Dixson of Vermeer.
“A huge thank you is extended to each team member for making generous donations to this year’s holiday food drive,” said Glesener. “A new record is truly exciting, but the gratitude from the number of families affected by the large donation is worth much more. It’s not just a competition about seeing who can raise the most. Our team members really made an impact on central Iowa.”