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Cisco Volunteers in Massachusetts Join Global Campaign to Give Back

At the Cisco Boxborough, Massachusetts office, we are taking part in Giving Tuesday by encouraging our colleagues to participate in the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign, which helps 13 local nonprofit hunger relief organizations. This is part of Cisco’s larger global campaign, which helps more than 160 food organizations worldwide. The goal of the campaign is to raise $1.8 million to end hunger around the world, and so far we are more than halfway toward that goal.

To date, we’ve raised over US$24,000 so far in employee donations, and we continue to make significant headway toward our 2014 goal of $43,000. We owe a big thanks to Director of Engineering, David Abe, who leads the New England Development Center and is an executive champion for this year’s Campaign.

In addition to David Abe’s leadership, my fellow Civic Council members, and a vibrant culture of giving back, our local Campaign launched with a beautiful artistic wall created by Lynne Abell.

Boxborough, Mass. Cisco Civic Council member Lynne Abell designed this artistic wall to commemorate the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign

Boxborough, Massachusetts Cisco Civic Council member Lynne Abell designed this artistic wall to commemorate the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign

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Cisco Employees Race to End Hunger in India

“There is no better expenditure of money and it’s really important for these kids to stay in school and learn. I love this program; this is one of the finest commitments ever made in the 10 years history of Clinton Global Initiative.”

How beautiful and true these words are from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, about the mid-day meal program of Akshya Patra, which is Cisco India’s primary benefiting organization for our Global Hunger Relief Campaign. Through this program, over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India receive a good meal each day that they are in school. This is the world’s largest mid-day meal program and it makes an incredible impact.

According to the World Food Programme, one-third of the world’s hungry live in India. “Six days I would eat, then the next six days I wouldn’t eat at all,” said 9-year-old Roshan. The tiny girl grew up on a diet of 600 calories per day, not even half as much as a child her age should receive. And across India, millions of children like Roshan suffer from severe hunger.

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Doing our part to stop hunger…in Silicon Valley and around the world

Earlier this week, I was privileged to join Cisco employees and executives to sort 27,100 pounds of food at the Second Harvest food bank in Silicon Valley. This food will go to help the 1 in 4 Santa Clara and San Mateo County residents at risk for hunger – roughly 625,000 individuals.

This event is just one part of Cisco’s largest annual giving campaign to help stop global hunger in Silicon Valley and around the world. We’re in the middle of our 12th annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, involving over 160 food agencies worldwide.

Since we started this effort, we have raised $40 million dollars for hunger relief, which translates into 160 million meals for those who need it most.

And this year, the bar is set high.  We’re in the midst of a two-month effort to raise $1.8 million in employee donations for hunger relief, most of which will then be matched by the Cisco Foundation.

At Cisco, giving back is part of our DNA.  I’m proud to be a part of this effort to help stop global hunger.  And I’d encourage all of my Cisco colleagues to consider making a donation or volunteering at a local food bank during this holiday season.

Together, we can really make a difference.

Cisco execs and employees sorting food for 2nd Harvest

Cisco execs and employees sorting food for Second Harvest

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Cisco Recognized for Raising 55 Million Pounds of Food for Local Charity

Last night I was proud to join other Cisco staff and executives in accepting four “Making Hunger History” awards from the Second Harvest Food Bank near our San Jose headquarters.

Cisco has supported Second Harvest for more than 20 years, and in that time we have raised the equivalent of 55 million pounds of food for the organization!

Our employees volunteer there and make donations through our annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, and we’ve provided several product and cash grants over the years, most recently to help the organization’s clients better utilize the CalFresh food stamp program (read my earlier blog on CalFresh). In 2012 Cisco employees contributed more than 4900 volunteer hours to Second Harvest.

Cisco received 4 "Making Hunger History" awards from the Second Harvest Food Bank on September 10. On hand to receive them were (l-r): Jessica Graham,  community relations manager; Randy Pond, senior vice president of operations; Curt Hill, VP of technical support; Rebecca Jacoby, chief information officer and a Second Harvest board member; and Ricardo Benavidez, senior community relations manager.

Cisco received 4 “Making Hunger History” awards from the Second Harvest Food Bank on September 10. On hand to receive them were (l-r): Jessica Graham, community relations manager; Randy Pond, senior vice president of operations; Curt Hill, VP of technical support; Rebecca Jacoby, chief information officer and a Second Harvest board member; and Ricardo Benavidez, senior community relations manager.

Second Harvest does important work. One in 10 residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties receives food from Second Harvest, and 40% of them are children. According to the 2014 Hunger in America report, clients receive assistance from Second Harvest Food Bank an average of 13 times per year, compared to the national average of 8 times. This could be a reflection of the high cost of living in California’s Bay Area.

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Multiplying the Impact of Food and Housing Relief

When you have a regular paycheck, a roof over your head, your health, and a fully stocked refrigerator, it’s easy to focus on other activities of daily living.

But when you lack one or all of these things, your focus is on surviving.

I know all this from first-hand experience. As a child, I helped my mom, who doesn’t speak English, apply for public assistance in times of great family need. I had to research and complete, on behalf of my parents, food, health, and unemployment forms and job applications, translating them from English to Spanish and vice versa. We used buses to go from one agency to the next, and sometimes going back and forth to the same organization. There was no one to point us the right way or direct us around pitfalls, as we worked toward stabilizing our day-to-day lives, and eventual self-sufficiency and economic independence.

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