On one of the few summery days this June, 45 members of the Innovation Department fanned out into the community and volunteered.
“Whoever had the idea to wear black t-shirts…” said Sr. New Platform Developer Joy Dumke with beads of sweat dripping from her brow. “It’s so hot out here! I’m questioning why I even bothered to shower this morning,” she laughed.
Despite the heat, Joy and others weeded the gardens of Nourish in Sheboygan. Associate Research Scientist Leah Iocco pushed wheelbarrows across the terrain (pictured left). The organization uses urban farming to feed fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. The Sargento volunteers worked together finding common ground kneeling in the grass.
“This is all about teamwork,” said Sr. Sensory Scientist Rebecca Maine who with Administrative Assistant Ann Voigt organized the outing. “Teamwork for us at Sargento, but also as members of our community. It’s nice that our company is so supportive of volunteering and actively encourages us to get involved,” she said.
Nourish was just one volunteer location for the Sargento team that day. Just down the road another team was painting at RCS Empowers. The organization has programming and services for adults with special needs.
“We have over 60 classes that we put on every week and we work with everyone; from people who have developmental disabilities to those who have severe mental illness,” said RCS Day Services Coordinator Ruth Weigel. “This act of kindness from Sargento allows our participants to have great experiences. Right now the group is painting art boards that will be used during our 60th anniversary performances this September,” she smiled.
“I grew up with some people who had Down’s Syndrome and that’s the reason I picked this place to volunteer,” said Technology Principal Ken Lightfield with a paint brush in his hand.
Three other Sargento teams rolled up their sleeves at Pine Have Christian Communities in Sheboygan Falls, Generations in Plymouth and the Senior Activity Center in Sheboygan. Each team painted, mulched, hauled, raked, washed, scrubbed and scraped.
“This is all upper body stuff,” smiled Rebecca Maine. “I know I’m going to be sore tomorrow, but it’s all worth it.” She worked with the United Way’s Volunteer Center to coordinate the effort.
“They made it so easy! All I had to do was tell them how many of us were interested and they took care of the rest identifying which organizations were most in need,” she said. “They ended up organizing a mini ‘Day of Caring’ just for us which was great.”
At some point during the year, each department at Sargento does something positive for someone they know or may never meet. Acting beyond personal needs enriches the Sargento family and fulfills each of us as human beings.