By Meredith Parker, Account Associate
Earlier this year, we asked IMI Staff to complete the statement: “I love IMI because…” Responses were featured in our 32nd birthday celebration social media campaign. The below response struck a chord with me:
“I love IMI because we provide the highest level of client service, respect professional relationships, act with integrity, are innovative and creative, value individuals, and work with enthusiasm and enjoyment.”
These points were taken directly from the IMI Core Values and reading the response was a great reminder of who we are as a company: we see every person as a human being before anything else. Because we serve nonprofit organizations, our staff works daily to support people who are making the world a better place. Usually this means management support, but earlier last month, it took on a different meaning.
On Wednesday, August 8, the Fun Committee organized a group of 12 IMI Staff to go to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina for a two-hour volunteer shift. The Food Bank serves 34 counties which are divided into six regions. We volunteered at the Raleigh Region Distribution Center, which covers the counties where our staff works and lives. According to a report released by the Food Bank in 2017, 15.1 percent, or 265,360 people, of the population in the counties served by the Raleigh Branch is food insecure. This translates to one or two people in a group of 10 struggling with food security.
Our task was to sort through one-ton pallets of onions and potatoes and determine whether the vegetables were safe to eat. Safe vegetables were bagged for distribution to hungry families across our state while unsafe vegetables were thrown away. Within the IMI Staff group of 12, we broke into smaller groups of four. My group dug into our pallet, which contained onions that were caked in dirt and, in some cases, spotted with green, fuzzy mold.
This task was completely outside of the skillsets we use in the office, and we were truly humbled by our experience. The food we were sorting had come straight from the farm and looked nothing like what we see at the grocery store. We were struck by the difficulty of making food safe, evidenced by the dirt speckling our clothes and hiding under our nails at the end of our shift. It was definitely a challenge, but it was rewarding to make sure people in our community were receiving the best food.
In addition, through this experience, we grew closer as a team. During the time spent together, we talked through how to discern that produce was safe; made runs to the dumpster to throw away unsafe food or to grab more net bags; and recounted stories around the giant pallets. Our group was fueled by our seamless, cheerful collaboration, especially because we were outside of our typical context.
After our two-hour shift, we felt fulfilled when we look at the “fruits” of our labor and realized that we had helped sort 5,400 pounds of fresh produce, which will provide 4,547 meals to our community.
Humbled, Fulfilled, and fueled by our Collaboration, we agreed that we would like for IMI to contribute to our community through regular volunteer service. Last week, we established an IMI Service Committee so our staff can continue to live out IMI’s Core Values in our community. Reflecting on the past few weeks, I am grateful for my colleagues, people who work daily to serve others and still desire to do more.
Want to team up with IMI to complete service in the Triangle? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.