For over 25 years, Milwaukee area employees have volunteered to support an organization called The Gathering which feeds meals to Milwaukee’s hungry at four locations throughout the city. This spring, the organization recognized Komatsu for serving over 75 meals.
As a company, we support organizations working to address hunger because we recognize that in satisfying hunger we can impact we can strengthen the community overall. Those who are well-nourished perform better at school and in their work; they also maintain a greater sense of health and well-being.
Recently a group of about 15 employees, family and friends served a meal at The Gathering’s Washington Park location which is just minutes from the National Avenue facility. On the menu were baked chicken, peas, coleslaw, bread and butter, bananas and dessert. Most of the volunteers had done it before except for one employee; for Wonyia Kyles, Security, this was a first-time experience. When asked to share his thoughts on the experience Wonyia reminds us that sharing a meal does more than feed a person physically, it pulls people together and gives them a sense of belonging.
“I signed up because I like how the company gets involved with the community by helping out. Seeing the smiles on the families or the individuals’ faces is what made my day because they left full and happy. It shows there is hope out there, it took me back because I was once in their shoes years ago, but I overcame my struggles and I know they will too. I brought my step brother and my nephew to show them that this is the company I work and they work with the community a lot trying to make others feel better and good. They both enjoyed the experience. My brother said, “Man y’all really like helping.” My nephew said, “Uncle, I wish I would’ve brought my sister so she could help.” That is what really made my day. All it takes is to lend a hand because if we can reach one person and help them that is what matters. They will never forget who gave them hope.”
Wonyia, along with his step-brother and nephew, served as greeters. They welcomed each guest with a great attitude and a smile, helping everyone feel they were supported.
The Gathering has always instilled the idea that the meal service is about more than what is on the plate. The individuals that come for the meal are guests. Volunteers interact and share stories, those that are hungry are treated with dignity and respect. At Washington Park the value of a meal shared at the table is particularly evident as you see families and neighbors sitting down and sharing time with each other, creating a greater sense of community.
Komatsu employees volunteer to support The Gathering several times a year. It is a volunteer experience that often, as was the case with Wonyia, attracts employees and their families to help others.