Reliv’s Vice President of Operations, Debra Hellweg, shares her thoughts on the volunteer spirit of Reliv’s staff.
Each year, I am honored to plan Reliv’s Week of Caring activities. This initiative started 5 years ago because many of us wanted to go out into the community and support local charities. An employee came to us with an idea to help sandbag when the Midwest was experiencing some heavy flooding six years ago. That idea morphed into an annual event starting in 2009 and now includes visiting four or five local charities each year during National Volunteer Week.
The charities selected cover a wide range of needs — from children to homeless adults, from stray animals to the environment. We try to pick charities that let us bring a big group because this is also a great opportunity for our employees throughout the company to work together for a common cause. We build our own Reliv team while supporting so many other great organizations!
The 2013 Week of Caring took place April 22-26. We sent groups of employees to the St. Louis Crisis Nursery (two locations), Habitat for Humanity, Youth in Need and Open Door Animal Sanctuary. I always survey employees who participate to get their feedback. Comments this year included:
- “Visiting the Crisis Nursery and working with the kids really made me count my blessings and realize there is so much need in our local community.”
- “While we were there a mother had to drop off her kids and leave them behind to deal with a crisis in her life… it really hit home what these kids are dealing with and how important working with them today is.”
- “I did not realize what a great organization Crisis Nursery is… I plan to volunteer there on my own time now.”
- “I always find Habitat such a rewarding time — you feel like you are not only helping build something for a family in need, but in a greater sense helping our entire community.”
- “The day was filled with hard work and great team-building. I’m so happy to have a chance to work with employees I don’t see on a daily basis, and for such a great cause.”
- “Youth in Need is an organization that supports children and teens in crisis — I did not even know this organization existed until now, and I truly feel we made a difference today helping them raise money for the kids.”
- “Open Door Animal Sanctuary is a no-kill shelter that never turns away a homeless or abused animal. They depend on volunteers to help care for the animals. If we had not been there, some of these dogs would have gone many more hours without their first walk of the day.”
- “As an animal lover, it was so hard to leave there without adopting one of the numerous homeless animals. This organization really needs volunteers and we felt we were able to make a difference. You could tell the animals were so happy to get the attention that they otherwise may not have gotten.”
Those are just a few examples of the comments I heard from employees last week, but there are many more. Volunteering is extremely important to me — it has always been a passion of mine, especially working with animals. I feel very fortunate to be able to work for a company that allows us to volunteer for an entire day during business hours. There are not many companies out there that allow a third of their workforce to be gone during the week volunteering. I truly feel honored to be able to plan these activities each year, but more importantly, to be able to give back.
Reliv has won two Communitas Awards for “Excellence in Community Service” specifically for the Week of Caring, which means we have been recognized for the important impact we are making. Kudos to all the employees who volunteer year and after, and to the company for allowing us to do so!
As Reliv Distributors already know, Reliv is truly a company with a heart. I can only hope that reading this message might encourage some of you to also volunteer in your local communities. There is such a need everywhere!