NetApp’s One-Two Punch in the Fight Against Hunger

This is the third installment of our blog series devoted to showcasing the way in which NetApp teams across the globe are giving back to their communities.


Since 1994, NetApp employees have partnered with the community to fight hunger in the Bay Area. In November of this year, NetApp created a new program with 2 great organizations to do even more good for our friends and neighbors.


Two weeks before Thanksgiving, 25 NetApp employees volunteered their time at Sunnyvale Community Services and Second Harvest Food Bank for the first Volunteer Time Off (VTO) on the Go Program for these 2 organizations. NetApp has worked for a long time to make this program happen, and with the opening of the new Second Harvest Food Bank Facility on North First Street in San Jose, that program is now a reality! The purpose of this program was to give employees an insider’s view of how donated food moves through the system, from collection to sorting and then out for distribution in the community.


The first part of the Day was spent at Sunnyvale Community Services, an organization dedicated to preventing homelessness and hunger in the Sunnyvale community. Our volunteers packed 1,000 bags of Thanksgiving meals for a whopping 25,000 pounds of food! Our volunteers were a well-oiled machine and in true NetApp style, the first order of business was streamlining the assembly line process for maximum efficiency! No volunteer would leave until all 1,000 bags were packed, stacked and ready for distribution. Along with the assembly line workers, there were volunteers who helped lift box after box of supplies to keep the assembly line workers stocked with food. There were people that gathered and disassembled tons of boxes for recycle. And let’s not to forget those volunteers who lifted all 1,000 of those bags, each weighing 25 pounds, to stack, and at times, restack on the warehouse shelves. Everyone worked so hard, but in the end it was worth it. Just look how many bags we packed! And let’s not forget those who provided the cheerleading and comic relief. We’re looking at you, Paul!


The second part of the day, volunteers moved over to the Second Harvest Food Bank, an organization dedicated to ending hunger in the Bay Area. The Food Bank services both the Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, so you can imagine, they help a lot of people! After volunteers enjoyed a NetApp sponsored lunch and tour of the new facility, they got right to work. Today, volunteers were needed to sort and pack fresh produce, in particular green peppers, acorn squash and butternut squash.


Volunteers packed 40 pound boxes of produce and stacked them on pallets for distribution. Once again, the well-oiled NetApp machine of volunteers packed an amazing 10,000 pounds of fresh produce for distribution. Even the food bank was amazed at how much these volunteers accomplished in such a short period of time. After all the hard work was done, employees got a real treat – to see the 32 foot refrigerated truck that NetApp donated to the Food Bank in 2010. This was a great photo op, indeed!



As if that was not great enough, these lucky volunteers got to see themselves on TV! Host Liam Mayclem of CBS 5 Eye on the Bay interviewed Gwen McDonald, Christy Jacobs, Wes Smothermon, Irina Ginshteyn and Jan Stewart from NetApp, plus Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson, Sunnyvale Community Services Executive Director Marie Bernard, and one of their clients for this 30 minute piece focused on Food for Bay Area Families. No pressure! Volunteers did a great job representing NetApp.


All in all, it was a great day. Along with giving back to the community and helping others in need, the most satisfying part of the event was seeing employees get excited about volunteerism. Everyone talked about how much they wanted to volunteer, but sometimes don’t know where to start. This was a great way to meet new people, make friends and talk to those who are already active in the community to learn about other opportunities to give back. It’s all about finding your passion. This event truly embodied the NetApp spirit of giving and service. Go NetApp!