Recently employees at our Milwaukee, WI facility volunteered alongside family and friends to sort 13,000 lbs. of food for Hunger Task Force, a food bank that delivers food free of charge to a local network of 80 food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Milwaukee County. To ensure a healthy and nutritious supply of food within the network, Hunger Task Force combines government commodities, food collected from local food drives, purchased emergency food, and fresh fruits and vegetables from their Farm and Fish Hatchery. This food supply represents breakfast, lunch and dinner based on family household size and dietary needs. Families can receive emergency food with dignity, on the day they need it and in the neighborhood where they live.
Employees work together, lining the sides of a conveyor belt filled with food. Everyone is assigned to pull and box specific items from the line as they pass through. One employee might have vegetables, another pulls peanut butter, another takes low-sugar fruits. Together it is a team effort and volunteers are reflective of Komatsu overall, attracting employees from virtually every area of the company. This diversity is something Robin Pisarek, Senior Manager-IT Business Office, really appreciates.
“Volunteering for Hunger Task Force is a great way for families and departments to unite and give back to the community. It’s also nice to meet employees that I don’t have the chance to connect with at work.”
In the Milwaukee community people are generally familiar with Hunger Task Force because the organization does a great job raising awareness about the needs of the community. That said, it isn’t until you’re on the line and within the facility that you really appreciate the scope of the work they do. For Craig Everson, Senior Safety Specialist, the volunteer experience made him think differently about how he can help in the future.
“It was interesting to see the items that were donated and realize what the needs really are. After this experience I feel like I can be a better donation ambassador for local food pantries. Understanding their focus on healthier foods allows me to share with others what the needs are, rather than having people donate foods that may not be utilized.”
Understanding the needs of the food pantries served by Hunger Task Force is nothing new for Joan Kraut, Cost Estimator.
“I see how hunger impacts our community firsthand because I also volunteer in a local food pantry. Everything becomes quite personal when you actually get to see the faces of hunger. The whole idea of serving the poor in our community is very dear to me. I’m grateful to be given the opportunity. I think it’s important to share when we live in an abundant country. Another benefit is, the teamwork. It’s fun getting a chance to work with people in a whole different environment.
Joan, like many of the volunteers also supports several other of Komatsu’s efforts to support those who are hungry in the Greater Milwaukee community. Addressing basic human needs like hunger is a priority for Komatsu Mining Corp. Poor nutrition and food insecurity can impact a community in far-reaching ways including physical and mental stunting, increased risk for disease, lower success rates in educational achievement and employment and loss of productivity and well-being within the community. By supporting organizations that work to reduce hunger in a community, along with supporting those that increase educational attainment, we can strengthen the community overall.