Why I Started a Food Drive for Associates on Medical Leave

By Dawnne Sulaitis
November 21, 2014
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To me, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what you have and what you can do for others. About three weeks ago, I learned that two of my coworkers were on medical leaves of absence and unable to work, leaving their families who normally depend on two incomes down to only one. I think that putting a holiday meal on the table should be the last thing these people have to worry about, so I started a food drive to help them out.

I don’t know who these associates are or the details of their situation, but I do know this: Suddenly losing half your typical household income could be a setback for anyone.

Together with my fellow associates – that’s 300-plus people – I knew we could make a difference. Since then, we’ve gotten two good-sized boxes of food filled, and I even baked cookies at my home to sell in the break room and raise extra money. It’s been great to see everyone’s positive reaction here to helping associates who are facing the unexpected. But what I certainly didn’t expect was what happened this week: Learning that there has been quite a bit of unfavorable media out there regarding this drive.

I haven’t read the stories, and I’m not going to. My intentions were purely to help people who needed it, and I’m not going to let any negativity overshadow the good intentions and kindness of my coworkers.

Giving back isn’t something we’re doing just in this instance; we also share our good will with the community we serve. In fact, we’re organizing a coat drive for our local homeless shelter right now, and I’ve been doing my part by washing the coats so they’re clean and ready to go. So far, we’ve collected about 40 coats for people who will really need them this winter.

Thanksgiving is always a good reminder to help one another, but I believe it’s an attitude we should all have year-round. Everyone gives in their own way, and I’m going to press on and keep a positive attitude about doing what I can.