There was one big winner in a “food fight” between two Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Workforce Optimization teams: the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
Teams led by directors Dave Westphal and Dennis Proctor processed 37,000 pounds of food in just three hours on Friday, Nov. 4. The agency average is 15,000 pounds every eight hours.
Westphal’s team finished the day with bragging rights, processing 19,000 pounds to Proctor’s 18,000, ending a good-natured challenge that started back in May. At that time, Westphal and his team worked their first three-hour shift at the food bank, processing a staggering 23,000 pounds of food.
“My team is extraordinarily competitive and I would say that they started creating their own little competitions amongst themselves,” Westphal said.
After their first successful volunteer event at the food bank, Westphal issued a challenge to other departments through an internal newsletter. He also personally challenged Proctor, who didn’t have a hard time getting his team on board. Both groups perform similar functions for the company.
“There’s already a healthy competition and rivalry between our teams,” Proctor said.
With about 30 team members on each side, everyone got to work. Amidst a lot of “smack talk”, teams sorted through donated food, removing expired items. All the acceptable donations were then packed and sorted for distribution.
The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan provides food for more than 450 partner organizations on the east side of Michigan, from Lapeer County all the way to the Mackinac Bridge. With the ongoing crisis in Flint, the food bank has been scheduling an additional four to five mobile nutrition distribution events each week, every month, in Flint alone. This increased outreach has kept the need for volunteer help at an all-time high for several months, and it’s expected to continue through the winter and into 2017.
Both Proctor and Westphal said their teams were happy to give back to the people of Flint. The volunteer outing is just one more way their employees donate their time and resources to their communities and both say that Blue Cross makes it easy to do so.
“I think the organization is extremely supportive and makes it very easy for those who are interested to raise their hands and get involved,” Westphal said.
In 2016, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network employees have volunteered more than 1,600 hours and donated more than $5,000 to the food bank. The company donated $50,000 earlier this year. Find out how you can help at the food bank’s website.
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Photo credit: Salvation Army USA West