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HanaByte Hearts: Rise Against Hunger Rechallenge

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rise against hunger, hanabyte hearts, corporate outreach

During the holiday season, HanaByte had the opportunity to coordinate with Rise Against Hunger for a second time. The first time that HanaByte met at the warehouse location, there was a small group with only five employees. A year later, a boisterous group of excited team members with their friends and family stood together waiting. It was a change in HanaByte that had been so slow in the building that the visual of it left our CEO staggering back in surprise. She turned to the team and announced, “We’re going to be able to pack a lot of meals and really get a lot accomplished today!” as she strode through the crowd, shaking hands and meeting various friends of HanaByte.

hanabyte hearts, rise against hunger, corporate outreach, hanabyte
Asking someone to show up on the weekend to volunteer, is sometimes, simply an ask. When it comes down to the act of getting up, showing up, and committing to weekend time for work, it’s all on the employees to put it into action. HanaByte’s volunteer program coordinators can organize the event, but it’s simply a plan until the people show up on a cold morning, bundled in hoodies and parkas, coffee in hand, ears covered in hats, and cheeks flushed with cold. This is the team that HanaByte has built. This is not a culture that is built on simply the mandate of business operation, but voluntary action. It is built off of the manifestation of the people chosen for their skills, their compassion, and their teamwork. Emphasizing culture is not only good for daily operations, but it also directly affects the impact that HanaByte can make on the community. In a way, this culture of showing up for volunteer events helps to verify the promises we make on the type of work environment we work to build.

All Paws Busy At Work

hanabyte hearts, rise against hunger, corporate outreach, hanabyte

After moving through the safety procedures, the liability waivers, and the informational briefing about the work that Rise Against Hunger does to give back, the team split into the various stations for tutorials, or refreshers for some of our team, on the steps they will be taking to fill meal bags together. When the classic rock and pop playlist started to blast over the speakers, there was instant chaos in the room, a den of lyrics, conversations, and hands at work. Two stations were set up scooping the rice, the soy, the veggies, and the condiment sachets into bags. 

Our CEO, Kat Evans, led at the head of the operation, working side by side with team members while laughing and catching up in person. With each scoop of nutrient-rich food, our team was confronted with the reminder of how precious those grains of rice are and how much good this simple action would do to families that they will never meet. A life change that will be remembered in the sore shoulder of repetitive movement over the course of a few hours. In the center, a team worked to weigh the bags carefully and seal them for safe transportation to agencies around the world for distribution. The weight of such small bags in our hands as they were carefully melted and sealed, held a reminder of how the smallest action can make a significant impact on an entire family. Finally, at the tail of this assembly was a team carefully counting out the bags, pasting stickers, and assembling boxes. Here, our founder and CTO, Eric Evans, took special care to personally pack these meals into boxes. He expressed pride in having the opportunity to be the last person to handle the meals before they arrived at their new destinations, as this is the closest thing he could do to deliver meals hand to hand. 

hanabyte hearts, rise against hunger, corporate outreach, hanabyte

Teamwork in Action

Where we previously worked to pack 7 boxes, this time, the team was able to pack 24 boxes. As we looked at the towering stack of cardboard at the end of our time, it was almost hard to believe that there were over 5,000 meals inside. Our small gathering would be changing the lives of thousands in just a few hours. It’s a humbling experience to stare at the accomplishment and know that the difference is both significant to the individual, but still only a fraction of the need that exists. This is why partnering with organizations such as Rise Against Hunger is so significant to our team. The quest to end hunger is not fruitless: It is a task that can be accomplished. It requires the collaboration of those who are able, a community working together towards a common goal. It extends beyond the meals prepared to the programs sustained by the organization to help agriculture on local levels in communities as well. This enacted spirit of change is simply one brick in the bridge built to ending this global epidemic. Feeding America reported that more than 44 million people in the United States alone are facing hunger. That staggering statistic only extends to just one country in almost 200 countries on this planet, wherein UNICEF reports one child in every 60 seconds is facing malnutrition, with numbers continuing to rise in 2024. Our pride in being part of that change only moved our team to commit to tackling this challenge again this year, pledging to try to triple our effort and output in round three.
hanabyte hearts, rise against hunger, corporate outreach, hanabyte

The Tradition of Giving

Traditions start with one single step forward and the intention to carry it forward over and over again. The tradition of treating the team to a meal after a volunteer event comes from the Executive leadership at HanaByte in recognition of the hard work and dedication of their employees. Beyond that, there is something else there that requires acknowledgment though, and that is the sacrifice of precious time. In a company with a focus on work-life balance, there is recognition that the team is giving up their precious weekend to gather in a warehouse to work. They choose to allocate time that could be spent on their children, TV binges, home renovation projects, or even just hobbies and peaceful nothingness. This volunteerism is acknowledged by leadership who understands the importance of building a team that is recognized for their hard work. What started as a way to feed a team helping to feed others in the first event, has evolved into a precious tradition of stepping back from work and unwinding as a group who choose to be present as one. This year, it included tacos and margaritas! As the team gathered together to share a meal commemorating the close of the first full year of Volunteer activities with the HanaByte Hearts Program, tired arms and sweaty brows relaxed into the merriment of shared experience and good food.  The HanaByte Hearts program is now embarking on its 2024 Q1 initiatives in the coming week, with planning and preparations in full swing, it provided an opportunity for reflection on the traditions being put in place that will continue throughout this year and the years to come. Where opportunity meets altruism, compassion, and intention nurture both this wonderful program of giving back, and a community of people bound by more than just the name, HanaByte.
Hanabyte Hearts, Rise Against Hunger

Find out how you can give back and coordinate your own event today with the brilliant team at Rise Against Hunger.
Check out Rise Against Hunger here!

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