A few weeks ago, Boston Interactive participated in TUGG’s (Technology Underwriting Greater Good) annual day of service called Tech Gives Back. The group corrals technology and startup companies and pairs them with nonprofits across the city. As a company that aims to do good work, Boston Interactive jumped at the opportunity.
TUGG matched Boston Interactive with Community Servings, a nonprofit that provides weekly meals to people and families in need. The meals delivered fresh ingredients from CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmers markets that are not only nutrient-dense but also beautifully prepared.
One team member from each of Boston Interactive’s departments (Strategy & Account, UX & Design, Development, Marketing, and Sales) spent the workday volunteering—just one of our many employment benefits. I made the cut for the Strategy & Account team! The day of the event, we all took the train down from Charlestown donning backpacks, ball caps, and the TUGG t-shirts (Back to the Future themed).
A few members of Boston Interactive’s volunteer team. Left to right: Christina Hunchard, Richie Lobb, Joe Burch, and Mia Tantillo. (I, Christina Logsdon, am taking the photo.)
Community Servings: The Importance of Preparation
When we arrived, we learned about the history and mission of Community Servings and its meticulous food preparation standards. The prepared food is delivered weekly to people who live at or below the poverty level and many of them are also battling terminal illnesses. Community Servings’s fresh and nutritious food helps to regenerate the recipients’ bodies, which are often degrading due to their prescribed health treatments—often toxic, organ-deteriorating medicines.
As I mentioned above, the meticulousness of Community Servings’s food preparation ensures the people they serve are not put at risk. Much emphasis was put on cleanliness and standards around handling food as foodborne illness can be life-threatening or lead to long hospitalizations for those who have HIV, hepatitis, and other immune deficiencies.
One of the processes we had to master was a sequential order of preparation just to enter the kitchen: hair net, hand washing (for a full 20 seconds), gloves, and then apron. We also had to wash our hands and change gloves anytime we switched to a different type of food prep. It has me rethinking how I work in my own kitchen!
As the education session concluded, and we went into the food prep area, it was easy to imagine the individuals who would receive the meals and the importance of these guidelines. I was tasked with scooping out Cheerios into individually portioned plastic bags with a few other volunteers. We must have gone through 12 industrial-sized boxes of Cheerios—which had similar dimensions of a 90s boom box. But the task gave me an opportunity to meet my fellow volunteers, spend time with my Boston Interactive colleagues outside of work, and talk about the benefits of giving back to our city.
TUGG Gave Back to Me
I appreciate that TUGG is tapping into the tech and software community for good. Not only is the tech population huge, but it takes us away from our desks, meetings, and all those screens and gives us a chance to be human—to connect with a cause and other volunteers for a greater good.
What I Took Away:
Social Growth: Spending time with the Boston Interactive team members in a new setting is always fun, but engaging with new and diverse people in the community is where I found the most meaning. During our afternoon at Community Servings, I worked alongside the kitchen staff, in their white chef coats, and also connected with volunteers from varied backgrounds.
Education: During the experience, I discovered food handling tips and learned about commercial kitchen standards. I was reminded how our hands are carriers of disease and illness and the importance of hand washing for individuals and teams; just think about how closely we all work at desks, in conference rooms, and communal kitchens.
Giving Time: Helping other members of our community is a win-win. I can’t remember a time where I have volunteered and not taken something with me, be it an increased sense of self or pride in our team, our company, and our community.
I highly recommend all organizations—tech or not—take time out of our busy lives and give back to the community. I look forward to more opportunities to volunteer with my co-workers and peers and hope to find other ways to support Community Servings in the future.