Recently, Gartner associates from our newly opened Chicago office volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, an organization that provides food for hungry people while also striving to end hunger in Cook County. This is done through various programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and response programs to aid children, older adults and veterans. Our employees put together bags of fruits and vegetables to be distributed to homeless shelters throughout the Chicago area. A few of our associates share their experiences volunteering and giving back to their local community.
Jeff Cao, Account Management Specialist
With a mountain of pears in front of us and dozens of empty fruit mesh bags at the foot of it, we all took a deep breath and slowly started picking at it one fruit at a time. It wasn’t a typical afternoon in Chicago — the weather was lovely, for once, and we were heading to the first-ever CEB, now Gartner volunteering event of 2018 at the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). GCFD is an organization that distributes food to a network of over 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community centers in the Chicago Cook County area. This event was set up by the Community Service Committee in our office, and we were eager to help out this cause.
After a 35-minute Uber ride of jokes, best-practice sharing and a heated Yanny vs Laurel” debate, we arrived at the GCFD site in South Chicago. The staff greeted us warmly and after being briefed on our workstations, we all grabbed some loose aprons and very stylish blue hairnets and got to work.
One of my worst habits since working at CEB, now Gartner, for 2 years is complacency — every day when I get to work I usually make a beeline to the water fountain and then straight back to my desk. I’m extremely close with all my teammates in SLR [Sales for Midsized Companies], but I don’t feel I know anyone else on the opposite end of my floor, and especially not the floor above us. Volunteering at GCFD gave me the opportunity to meet and work alongside three incredible other Gartner associates. I also had the pleasure of meeting other individuals volunteering from other firms as well.
On the car ride back home, Maggie Winstel, Christine Anton and I were reflecting on the day and Maggie shared, “I was touched by the dedication of the volunteers at GCFD. I have not had many opportunities to engage with people of different ages since my move to Chicago — and GCFD gave me the chance to interact and learn from volunteers who were at different stages in their life.
This was a great reminder of how these service opportunities bring people from all walks of life together. I hope Gartner continues to support service events like these! It was also a great reminder of how well us Gartner peeps can work a hairnet.” And I could not have agreed more.
My biggest take-away from this volunteering experience was not only befriending peers in the HR and Finance space, but also contributing to Gartner’s corporate social responsibility and continuing the tradition of heritage CEB’s “Global Impact Week.” Together in about four hours, we packaged 324 pounds of sweet potatoes and 13,364 pounds of pears for distribution. It was a busy night, but I’m so glad I went because I got to meet others outside my pod and now I have even more familiar faces to say “hello” to in the office.
Tayrn Nickow, Account Manager
I recently volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) with 3 of my heritage CEB colleagues — colleagues who I previously hadn’t met, but who were all passionate about giving back to our community. When we arrived at the facility, we met the 60 or so other volunteers there for the evening — including a woman who has been a staple at GCFD for nearly 25 years and was there to celebrate her birthday! After learning about the various ways that GCFD supports the hungry people across the city, we entered the warehouse and put on our gear to get to work.
The night we volunteered, we were bagging sweet potatoes and pears to be distributed to various food banks. Some folks were responsible for moving the items from the large boxes to tables, some were cutting mesh bags, some were weighing boxes and some were taping pallets. Our little group decided to take on the job of actually putting pears into bags and tying them. It was a great task because we got the opportunity to talk to other groups of volunteers — individuals who wanted to give their time, other corporations sponsoring corporate giving, families doing meaningful work, and more.
At the end of the evening, they shared with us the impact we made during our short time at the Food Depository. We boxed 13,000 pounds of pears. That’s a big number — but what does it actually mean? For our group of about 60 volunteers that night, it means we each impacted 70 individuals who need a meal in Chicago. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.
Are you interested in joining our team in Chicago? Explore our available positions here.