Unilever volunteers
December 15, 2015
by Jeffrey Lavine

Everyone has had a moment where an unknown individual has made an impact on your life. Has a stranger helped you across the street, start your car, or wrote a thank you note for something you thought was little? My moment was a simple meal that meant so much more.

While studying at an out-of-state school, I didn’t often have the chance to go home for the holidays. During my sophomore year, while studying for finals at the library, I was blessed when a campus organization handed me a Thanksgiving dinner which I had no means to make on my own. It was a simple gesture, by a benefactor that I will never know, but it was this simple act of love that made me want to share that special feeling with others.

Why do I feed America? I feed America to take the joy someone once gave me, and share it with more and more people each year in hopes they’ll be able to do the same one day.

You may ask—who has the time to help while rushing from back-to-back meetings and jumping on urgent phone calls? The secret: We all have the time, it’s just a matter of the priority we place on helping others.

On November 16, I was working at Unilever and rushing from those back-to-back meetings, racing through emails, and answering nonstop phone calls—but everything slowed down when I read an email about the opportunity to work with the Center for Food Action – a food pantry supported by Feeding America member Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Looking back on how I was once touched by a random act of kindness, I knew I wanted to help bring joy to people in need in my community by putting together boxes and donating meals for the Thanksgiving season.

After volunteering, I felt the satisfaction of knowing my hard work will help fill stomachs and create smiles. I was also overjoyed to see how my coworkers were touched by their own experiences that day. In total, we compiled 400 Thanksgiving meal kits – of which we also donated the funds to purchase everything in the kit. These kits included, onions, apples, potatoes, carrots, gravy, fruit, a $25 gift card to purchase a turkey and more – everything a family needed to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Volunteering for this event makes me feel even more dedicated and proud to support the issue of hunger relief and Feeding America. It is great knowing that my volunteer hours helped reduce the number of people in America facing hunger; but imagine what we could do if more people joined the cause

This Thanksgiving season, write down the moment when you truly give thanks to someone, and be sure to spread the same joy with others, as it truly can be the gift that keeps on giving.

Happy Holidays.

*Jeffrey Lavine is a Branding Enthusiast who lives in New York City and is a senior assistant brand manager and team sustainability lead at Unilever. He is an Alumni Advisor for Tzu Chi, a non-profit humanitarian organization, and helps spread environmental education to those in the New York Area.

**Photos courtesy of Unilever.

Tags: Hunger Heroes , Holiday , New Jersey , Community Food Bank of New Jersey

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