Grünenthal USA volunteers at Community Soup Kitchen
The employees of Grünenthal USA have always had a place in their hearts for serving the people in the community in which we work. Each year, we participate in various volunteer programs to help those in need; from building houses for the poor to purchasing clothes and toys for underprivileged children during the holiday season.
In the spirit of Caring and Inspiring, during Culture Week, the Grünenthal USA team spent a day preparing and serving 172 meals to men, women and children – among them working poor, disabled, elderly and homeless – at the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center in Morristown.
The Community Soup Kitchen, located just a few miles from the office, serves 58,000 breakfast and lunch meals, 365 days a year, rain or shine. They distribute over 425,000 pounds of food and provide over 2,600 social and medical referrals for additional services to adults and children in need each year. The guests rely on the Soup Kitchen to provide most, if not all, of their basic needs.
The statistics are staggering when you see how many households struggle with hunger in America, especially right in our own community. Morristown, which is located in one of the best ranked counties in which to live in the United States, is made up of over ¼ households struggling with hunger.
With knowledge of this prevalence and the desire to drive beneficial change, we hosted a food drive in the office which yielded boxes of food and essential toiletries and clothing items. We brought the donations with us to kick off our day at the Soup Kitchen.
Our team of 14 volunteers worked hard and the enthusiasm shown throughout the day made it evident how positively everyone was effected by the event. The human to human touch made this a unique experience as the team interacted with soup kitchen guests who didn’t speak English or who had difficulties communicating. Some guests were outgoing and expressed much gratitude while others did not make eye contact and were clearly pre-occupied with the issues with which they were struggling. When a Grünenthal volunteer offered a smile and provided the guests with food, it created a sense of appreciation and the individuals temporarily lost their feeling of helplessness. Volunteer Sallie O’Connor shared how it impacted her: “Seeing them smile and say “thank you” meant so much…and warmed my heart. I could truly feel how thankful each and every person was having lunch being provided to them.“
It was extremely gratifying and all the Grünenthal volunteers walked away with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Sascha Mielcarek summed it up well: “It was very rewarding and grounds you to look into the thankful eyes of these people who were less lucky in life.“
The team is excited to support the Soup Kitchen again and plans on making this an annual event in the years to come.