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

Lynne works with one of our vendor partners, the Health Fitness Corporation and has been on the Boxborough Civic Council for 7 years. Cisco Civic Councils are teams of employees and supporters who plan volunteer events, develop partnerships, roll out product donation programs, and make local cash donations. In addition to developing and implementing programs for our Life Connections health center, Lynne enjoys sharing her creativity and artistic abilities as part of her service to the Civic Council.

As Lynne puts it: “As an artist, I look forward to the challenge of creating concepts for the wall that will enable me to make a unique contribution that inspires my colleagues. It’s really a labor of love – something that I HAVE to do, because my gift is useless if not shared.”

I couldn’t be more thrilled that she shares her gift with us! As Cisco employees walk by the wall, Lynne’s design both educates and inspires them about the Global Hunger Relief Campaign. Lynne notes, “While I’ve never had to endure being a ‘starving artist,’ I’ve come close a few times and can’t imagine parents not being able to feed their children, or someone having to choose between food or medicine or heat.” We look forward to Lynne’s captivating artwork throughout the year, not only for Global Hunger Relief awareness, but also for our Earth Day celebration.

Local nonprofit organizations, like Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, help New Hampshire residents avoid making the decision between purchasing food and paying for utilities. This holiday season, Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter provided families with Thanksgiving meal items so they could prepare a holiday dinner with their loved ones. Nashua offered several volunteer slots for Cisco employees to help stock the shelves, maintain the pantry, and help aid in the shopping experience for those families.

As a Civic Council member, I jumped at the opportunity to engage my engineering team to help fill these volunteer positions. Over 8 days, 15 team members engaged in at least two volunteer shifts, totaling 161 hours of volunteerism.

The Cisco Foundation pays out $10 per hour to Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter for our volunteer time – what a way to maximize our impact! As a leader at Cisco, I have the privilege of working with an extremely talented team of engineers and managers who share my desire to get involved in the community.

I am very proud of the engineers from Cisco’s Contact Center, Conferencing, and Multi-Services Technical Assistance Center teams who took time to volunteer at Nashua! We felt great ensuring that families in our community had the necessary ingredients to prepare a holiday meal for their family and friends.

Events like this remind me of why I joined the Civic Council back in 2010 – to live out Cisco’s spirit of volunteerism. Cisco has always been known as a generous company that invests in its surrounding communities, and I’m proud to be part of that.

What’s next for our engineering team? Well, we are excited to volunteer at a Merrimack Valley Food Bank sort this Thursday, December 4 and continue helping Cisco reach its goal of 30,000 volunteer hours logged during the Global Hunger Relief Campaign.

I grew up in a household with parents who instilled in me a sense of gratitude for what I had. In turn, I show generosity to others in any way I can.

I encourage all of my Cisco colleagues to support the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign, and others everywhere to support hunger relief organizations in their own communities. Together, we really can make a difference!


Darlene McNamara

Manager, Technical Support