What better way to end October by highlighting, once again, the warm heart of the trucking industry. In this case, we refer to UPS which, since its founding in 1907, has established a strong legacy of supporting the communities it serves around the world.
During the month of October, UPS’s nearly 400 000 employees worldwide – with 286 of these being based in South Africa – donated 315 000 volunteer hours to community service efforts through the company’s annual Global Volunteer Month. This goal is a five percent increase over last year’s monthly hours total.
Spearheaded by The UPS Foundation, which drives global corporate citizenship and philanthropic programs for UPS, Global Volunteer Month mobilises our hundreds of thousands of employees from every region to engage in numerous volunteer events and activities happening around the world.
This year, employees supported major initiatives such as global forestry by working with organisations like The Nature Conservancy and others to help plant, protect and preserve trees in the U.S. and beyond.
In addition, employees were also able to offer their time to support a wide range of activities including teaching safe driving skills, aiding local communities devastated by disaster and offering educational and leadership development trainings at local organisations such as the Bright Kid Foundation and Future Generation Pre-school in Johannesburg, the Glenbridge Special School in Cape Town, the Protea Children’s Home in Port Elizabeth, and the Durban Children’s Home in KZN.
In June 2014, UPS Chief Executive Officer David Abney announced the company’s pledge of completing 20 million hours of global volunteerism and community service by the end of 2020. Through the increased focus on volunteerism during the month of October, UPS employees were able to hone in on their volunteer efforts and make a sizeable impact toward that goal.
“Our business helps us connect to hundreds of millions of people around the world,” says Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation. “UPS is committed to service each and every day but we were particularly excited to designate October as a month to place a special emphasis on volunteerism and service in order to make the world a better and more sustainable community.”
Belinda Gault, HR manager of UPS South Africa, says that through working directly in their own neighbourhoods, employees in each region understand best their communities’ specific needs and Global Volunteer Month is seen as an opportunity to best meet these needs.
“We focus our volunteer efforts in our organisation’s key regions locally – Gauteng, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – and it continues to work extremely well in terms of making a sustainable impact in some of the country’s poorest communities. While we believe in providing ongoing support to our chosen initiatives, the need is often so great that our various regions from time-to-time take on new initiatives and in that way try and spread the aid and support around,” she explained.
During the 2014 Global Volunteer Month, UPS employees around the world volunteered time at signature regional events to celebrate the impact of philanthropic efforts in local communities, including:
- Tembisa, Johannesburg, Gauteng – the painting of three classrooms at the Future Generation Pre-school.
- Philani, West Rand, Johannesburg, Gauteng – Planting of trees, shrubs and grass at the at the Bright Kid Foundation, an initiative that converts shipping containers into fully equipped preschool classrooms, so-called Edutainers where children can realise their full potential in a nurturing and stimulating environment. These Edutainers are distributed nationally to communities most in need.
- Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal – Repairing, painting and refurbishing the children’s dormitory at the Durban Children’s Home, a Non-Government Organisation that provides substitute care to orphans, destitute children and children with parents who are unable to care for them.
- Glenbridge, Cape Town – Painting and gardening at the Glen Bridge School, a school that caters for learners from 6 to 18 years old, with intellectual impairment as a primary impairment. These impairments include Downs syndrome, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, etc, as well as intellectual impairment as a result of acquired conditions.
- Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape – Painting and repair work on the wooden play area and cleaning and repair of the pool area at the Protea Youth Care Centre, a centre run by the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development that provides a safe haven for local children awaiting trial.
Since 2011, UPS has contributed more than 5.5 million hours of global volunteer service. Employees’ participation in Global Volunteer Month will help the company reach its 2020 goal of giving back 20 million volunteer service hours to the communities around the world where UPS employees live and work.
UPS – we salute you!