Spirit of Acadiana

Jul 17, 2012 5:02 PM by Scott Brazda

SPIRIT OF ACADIANA: STULLER FOODNET

"We work together all week long and didn't feel we knew each other as a person," said Jennifer East, Executive Director of Human Resources at Stuller, Inc. "This kind of thing will allow us to, in the process, give back to the com."

And with that as its goal, the executive director team of Stuller, Inc. descended upon Lafayette's FoodNet. Seems that putting ‘team building' together with the ‘Greater Acadiana Food Bank' was a match made in heaven.

"I thought, ‘That would be nice', said FoodNet Executive Director Lemel Jones. "Hey, we stand together, get food together, and that would be team building. And they'd learn about what we do to feed hungry people."

So they sorted... they bagged....they boxed.... all during a typical Acadiana summer morning. Citing the weather conditions, Stuller Executive Director/Financial Controller Colby Domingue laughed, "You don't really know someone until you're outside sweating next to them."

And, lest we forget the Stuller executive directors are human beings, they also answered questions even as some, like Jennifer East, did three things at once. "Scott," said East, "I'm a parent. I have to multi-task when you do it. So I can apply that here at FoodNet."

In its battle against hunger, FoodNet needs to deliver 18-to-20 pallets of food to its member agencies each week. And how did our twelve executive directors fare?

According to Lemel Jones, they did quite well. "They did about 14 pallets," said Jones, "and that's almost a full week of packing for us."

In the grand scheme of things... we're talking ‘big picture'.... this was about way more than the ‘Stuller Dozen'. The real story was how a decidedly ‘for-profit' organization rolled up its collective sleeves, and worked toward a better Acadiana.

Stuller Executive Director of Engineering and Maintenance Jim Hebert learned a lesson about the place he's called ‘home' for over 50 years. "It was an eye-opener to see the needs of the community. Just the amount of food that comes through here, well, people need to get involved."

Domingue concurred, and asked for this kind of community involvement to be echoed by others in Acadiana. "So we'd like to ask other companies-for-profit, non-profit-- to go out and get involved, to do this kind of thing. There are some great non-profits out there, and FoodNet is on that list."

And acting on a need, and getting out of the office and into the game, so to speak, meant so much to Jennifer East. "It's one thing to write a check," mused East, "but to sweat and get your hands dirty, that's another."

Interested in using a non-profit organization as the site of YOUR team-building exercise? Here's one tip: contact your favorite charity, one in which you have great passion, and ask for ways you and your company can help. If you need further information on simple volunteerism, call Keler Williams, the United Way of Acadiana's Director of Volunteer Mobilization at (337) 706-1234 or send an email to keler.williams@unitedwayofacadiana.org.

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