This week, Cisco was named the winner of Second Harvest Food Bank’s 48-Hour Virtual Race to End Hunger. Raising money – just over $216,000 for this year’s race – to support our neighbors in need and at risk of food insecurity is now a signature part of our participation in the Cisco Global Hunger Relief Campaign – a company fundraising drive that benefits over 160 nonprofits worldwide.
After 8 years participating in the local 48-Hour Race, the Silicon Valley spirit of competition has spread to many other Cisco locations that compete in their own ways during the 48-Hour Race, including India and China.
My role here centers on empowering Cisco employees to make a tangible difference in our local community. Cisco employees don’t just read emails and click “donate here” links – we also love to use our hands and hearts to contribute to the causes that move us most. Hunger, an issue that affects a staggering 805 million people worldwide, is here with us even in Silicon Valley, an environment where the high cost of living continues to rise. Every year during this campaign, at least a couple of our 15,000+ Bay Area employees shoots me a note, or mentions in confidence that they find meaning in supporting the Global Hunger Relief Campaign because they remember a moment in time when they too needed help to put enough food on the table.
Wednesday mid-way thru the 48-Hour Race, 211 Cisco volunteers selected from 10 different teams (Sales, Engineering, Marketing, etc.) came together to participate in our first ever “functional competition” food packaging event with Stop Hunger Now. Stop Hunger Now has a unique model of engaging anything from 50 to 500+ volunteers to package rice, soy, and vitamin supplements into small bags that are distributed to school feeding programs in 27 countries. In short order, Cisco volunteers had put on their hairnets and gloves and set about re-organizing their assembly lines, trying to identify efficiencies to see who could package meals the fastest. Within 90 minutes, we’d packaged 50,000 meals for the hungry.
Despite the sobering reality that there is a need, I’m humbled to join my Cisco colleagues in giving back in ways that can be utilized by those who need it most.