Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an oft-mentioned topic amongst companies big and small, and with its pervasive nature comes a lot of opportunity. For the 35 years of Strategic America’s existence, CSR has played a large role in the company culture, forming the foundation for who we are today. When the agency was founded, CSR was an integral piece to its growth plan and is deeply engrained in the day-to-day business at the agency. Simply put, helping others has played a key role in the development and sustainability of the agency.
For my family, volunteering with Meals from the Heartland has been something that we have been able to participate in as a family while focusing on one goal together – helping others. And what better way to help families around the world than by providing a meal for them. It’s not hard to be moved by the images of starving children that we all see, but it wasn’t until my family had the opportunity to travel to South Africa that it really hit me how much of an impact these nutritious meals have.
We traveled with a group of 20 or so on a two-week trip to an area set up by Dr. Jim Blessman and Blessman Ministries in South Africa. On the first day, we arrived to serve hundreds of people who came expecting a meal. What caught me by surprise was pulling out a box of meals prepared by Meals from the Heartland. Meals that my family, and thousands of others from Central Iowa, packaged. This moved me in a way that was completely unexpected. Rarely in life do you get the opportunity to see up-close the results of stewardship, and all I can say is that I am truly thankful that I have had the experience to see those results.
To see the children’s and adults’ faces light up as though they had just received a gourmet meal was priceless. It didn’t matter what was served, just the fact that they knew that their family would be fed caused an unspeakable joy to them. It was in these moments where the preparation and packaging of the meals had come full circle for my family and me.
After serving the meals, I found out that the world got even smaller, as I learned that the Des Moines Rotary was able to team up with a few organizations to get the meals to South Africa, where they were eventually dropped off for Blessman Ministries. It’s truly miraculous to think of all the helping hands used to deliver a meal to a hungry person half way across the world.
To kickoff SA’s 35th anniversary, we had the privilege to package and box up meals once again for Meals from the Heartland. Our team worked together to package 35,000 meals! The images of so many of our great employees volunteering and working together to package these meals reminds me of the happiness and gratitude of the needy families and children around the world. All touched by the efforts of our SA team. A team I am proud to be a part of.