As a newer member of the Levi Strauss & Co. Retail Communications team, one of the opportunities I am most excited about is managing and overseeing the community outreach program for my division. This position allows for me to see all of the remarkable giving back opportunities that our teams are conducting in stores across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil. It’s truly inspiring to witness the passion and commitment for giving back that runs so deeply in our values, as well as seeing the lasting impact on our various communities.
Every year, we provide our retail store colleagues with ideas for how they can give back to their local communities during the back-to-school season. I thought, if we’re asking our store teams to give back, then it would be great for our corporate team to get out there and do the same! So on a recent Friday, we grabbed our volunteer tees, banded together, braved the San Francisco traffic and made our way over to Holy Family Day Home (HFDH) in the Mission to spend some time learning about their organization and finding ways to help.
LS&Co. and HFDH: A Relationship with History
Since 1906, HFDH has provided affordable, high quality, early education and family support services in San Francisco. The relationship between HFDH and San Francisco is a rich one, and the relationship between HFDH and LS&Co. is rich as well. In 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake devastated San Francisco and destroyed the original HFDH home — leveling it and leaving it to be rebuilt.
During HFDH’s reconstruction LS&Co. volunteers helped design and paint a structure in the HFDH breezeway with murals. The work our volunteers did was extremely important, because during this time HFDH was in the middle of a capital campaign to raise the millions of dollars needed to rebuild their main building. Having an inviting, clean site to show potential contributors helped HFDH reach their campaign goal.
Cleaning Up and Playing Games
After learning of our company’s history with HFDH, we all were very excited to get to work! While the children at HFDH napped in the afternoon, we started cleaning the playground, toys, bikes and windows. After nap time, we moved inside and spent time with the children — playing games, reading books and even hosting a birthday party! The children were so excited to have us — their smiles and laughter warmed our hearts and wrapped up the giving back day in such a perfect way. Here’s what a few of our team members had to say about the experience:
“One of my favorite reasons for working at LS&Co. is the priority we have for giving back to our local communities. In particular, volunteering with HFDH meant a lot to me as we were able to not only get our hands dirty in playground cleanup, but also experience the kids’ joy firsthand as we played and interacted with them.”
— Richard Gomes, Director, Retail Communications & Training
“I went to Mission High School and worked in the area for years, just a few block from HFDH and never knew about their organization until just last week. Imagine my surprise to finally discover what the place did for the community! I love kids and giving kids a head start in the world means a lot to me. What a wonderful safe and supportive place to be for both the children and the parents. Reading, playing and learning to socialize with each other, especially if you are a child, is part of growing up. I especially loved the fact that we got to help out as a team. It made my day and I’m sure it made everyone’s day at HFDH.”
— Linda Quan, Retail Operations Coordinator
A Few Parting Gifts
Before we left, we had a few surprises in store for HFDH. Over the past few months, some of our teams have been collecting school supply donations in the spirit of back-to-school and jumped at the chance to donate the supplies we’d gathered to HFDH!
Our final surprise was something even more unexpected. We awarded HFDH with a $1,000 grant, a gift that left them speechless. For us, awarding the grant to HFDH was such a gift in itself — just to be able to see and feel their excitement. HFDH was so grateful for the help and the backpacks we donated, and when we awarded the grant, it brought tears to their eyes.
“The time you spent in our classrooms and dedicating your energies to the playground is much appreciated. The children and teaching teams really enjoyed hosting you all. We would also like to tell you how grateful we are not only for your wonderful donation of school supplies, but also for your generous grant to the Day Home. This gift means a tremendous amount to our school community, and it will support us in seeing our mission to our families through. It was a great pleasure to have you all here, and we hope to see you again soon. Thank you again!”
— Emily Corbin, Community Outreach Coordinator, Holy Family Day Home
Overall, our giving back experience was enriching, rewarding and empowering. It’s remarkable to work for a company that encourages us to give back and allows us to have experiences like we had at HFDH. My team can’t wait for our next giving back activity!
Here are a few photo highlights from our day: