For Judi Pagonis, bringing her co-workers at Spectra Energy’s Calgary office together to help feed hungry kids has been more rewarding than she could have imagined.
When Pagonis, contract administrator for Spectra Energy, first read about Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids a few years ago, she was shocked to learn that children were going hungry in our city.
“The thought really tugged at my heart strings. I just can’t imagine a child being hungry, their tummies growling for something to eat. I just felt I needed to make more people aware of this problem.
“I had never volunteered before, but knew that I wanted to help out, and this was the right organization for me.”
Working with the employee volunteer program at Spectra Energy, a leading North American natural gas transmission and distribution company, Pagonis turned her desire to help into action.
“Spectra Energy afforded me an opportunity to become involved. Every year, I’ve recruited volunteers to attend eight volunteer events annually. Each time I send a call out for volunteers, within minutes I have more than enough Spectra Energy employees lined up.
“Our employees love to work in the kitchen. They really see that they are making a positive difference in a child’s day.”
There are also some important side benefits to Spectra Energy and its staff, Pagonis says. “It teaches us about the value of community involvement, and raises awareness of the issues facing our city.
“Of course, these volunteer opportunities also build camaraderie among our employees, from vice-presidents to brand-new hires — it’s an invaluable team-building experience. I know first-hand that the energy and pride, especially on the days we complete a project, is infectious and makes a huge impact in our organization.”
In the end, though, the knowledge that working with BB4CK is a direct, immediate way to help feed hungry kids is the biggest motivator.
“The feeling I get from helping in the kitchen at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids is knowing the sandwich I’m making at that moment will be going into the mouth of a child who is hungry on that very day,” Pagonis says. “It’s real. It’s immediate. I leave that kitchen imagining the child, sitting in a classroom, surrounded by friends, eating a sandwich made by me, my hands. I know I am helping them be better prepared to learn and enjoy the day without the distraction of hunger. I have a real sense that I did something good for someone today, and that’s the best feeling you can have.”
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