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Providing Food to Those in Need

Throughout the pandemic, as unemployment increased, hunger became a problem for many families. Feeding those in need is a recurring theme in Integrated Project Management’s Project Mercy efforts, and it’s especially urgent now. So the leaders of the latest effort focused on supporting organizations that provide services to those in need.

“Looking at the stats, it was staggering to see the dramatic increase in food insecurity,” says Alice Lai, Project Management Consultant in IPM’s Los Angeles office and co-lead of the fourth-quarter project. “It’s always around, but due to the impact of COVID, it has become a problem for people who had never experienced food insecurity before.”

Volunteers from the LA office gathered at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which collects food from hundreds of resources, repacks, and delivers to partner agencies that serve more than 300,000 people a month. While maintaining social distancing and other precautions, IPMers assembled 1,064 food packages of nonperishable food. “They were very strict about masks, cleanliness, and social distancing,” says Senior Project Management Consultant Eric Hill, who led the effort with Lai. “It’s a big warehouse, so we were able to spread out easily, even on the assembly lines.”

The Boston office also found a food bank that allowed volunteers to safely sort and package food: the Greater Boston Food Bank. Boston volunteers also assembled and delivered 150 care packages to Rosie’s Place, which provides meals, shelter, and other support to underprivileged and homeless women. The nonprofits received funds raised by team members and donations from IPM, as did a soup kitchen, My Brother’s Table.

Socially Distant Support

Unable to help in person due to COVID, teams from other offices found socially distant methods to fight hunger. For example, the Chicago office held an online food drive for the local Loaves & Fishes organization, which provides healthy food and programs that support self-sufficiency, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Likewise, the New Jersey team donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Its goal is to “engage, educate, and empower all sectors of society in the battle and fill the emptiness caused by hunger with food, help, and hope.” St. Louis IPMers supported the St. Louis Area Foodbank and plan to volunteer on site once restrictions ease.

Creative Solutions in a Challenging Time

In Minneapolis, Project Mercy volunteers raised and donated funds to the Minnesota Loaves & Fishes program and Second Harvest Heartland. This food bank works with farmers and other food suppliers to accept donations and distribute them to food shelters, community centers, and other feeding programs. They also supported HCC, a local nonprofit that hosts activities for international university students. The pandemic prompted HCC to pivot to deliver direct aid, such as masks, clothes, and groceries to students who couldn’t travel home.

San Francisco IPMers supported the Bay Area Loaves & Fishes program in a fun and flavorful way. As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the organization hosted an online cooking class and fundraiser. Employees and their families joined the event to contribute funds.

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