Happy Thanksgiving from Cloud for Good!
During this time of reflection and taking stock of what, and who, we’re most thankful for, we would like to highlight a new initiative we’re particularly proud of: Goodies Give Back. Launched earlier this year, Goodies Give Back was created to make space for our staff (Goodies) to give back to their local communities and the national efforts across the United States and Canada that matter most to them through coordinated volunteer time off (VTO) efforts. While Cloud for Good has always offered VTO to our Goodies and encouraged community participation, Goodies Gives Back introduces a new dynamic to our involvement that is more coordinated company wide.
This initiative is part of Cloud for Good’s commitment to bettering the world around us by giving our Goodies the time to invest in the communities where we live and work. The intention of our VTO policy is not only for staff to be able to participate in volunteer engagement, but also to be able to share and connect their efforts and community passions with others through coordinated efforts, such as a dedicated VTO Zoom channel and now, Goodies Give Back.
On a rotating basis, Goodies Gives Back addresses current societal issues and empowers staff to help make a change. The first coordinated VTO opportunity sought to address food insecurity, the goal of which was to provide an engaging and educational opportunity for Goodies to meaningfully learn about food insecurity and to contribute to local food insecurity organizations.
What is food insecurity?
Many of us often celebrate the end-of-year holidays gathered around an overflowing table surrounded by those we love. However, there are many less fortunate people around the world suffering from undernourishment, hunger, and food insecurity.
In 2021, hunger and famine-like conditions were driven up by a combination of factors, including conflict, COVID-19, extreme weather, plant pests, and difficulties reaching people in need, according to the 2022 UN Global Humanitarian Review. To measure global hunger rates, the UN combines country data on food availability, food consumption, and energy needs into a “prevalence of undernourishment” (PoU) indicator.
Based on this, the UN estimates the number of hungry people in the world to be between 720 and 811 million.
The health impacts of food insecurity and hunger are considerable, including:
- Inadequate intake of nutrients that lead to growth challenges, particularly for children
- Increased risk of various chronic diseases
- Increased risk for negative pregnancy outcomes
- Long-term deficits in children’s socio-emotional, cognitive, and motor functions
- Increased risk for negative mental health impacts
- Steadily increasing healthcare costs; and more
How do we help?
Cloud for Good already has a history of partnerships with clients who address food insecurity, including Feeding America, Food Bank For New York City, Houston Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank, and South Plains Food Bank.
As part of the first Goodies Give Back initiative, Goodies all across the United States and Canada coordinated volunteer efforts and/or donated food and resources to food insecurity organizations, such as Bread for the City, City Harvest, Ebenezer Stone Ministries, Lasagna Love, and the Student Hunger Program.
In addition to volunteering and donations, Goodies were encouraged to participate in activities to help put them in the shoes of someone experiencing food insecurity. One particular activity featured a challenge to cook a nutritious meal for oneself/one’s family which costs no more than $4 per person. The average meal in America costs $3.59, but food-insecure individuals often report needing an additional $2.05 per person, per day—translating to a budget of roughly $1.54 per meal.
As this inaugural Goodies Give Back effort wrapped up at the end of October, we hosted a concluding call that invited those who had participated or were interested in the topic to share their experiences. Many Goodies have experienced food insecurity at different points in their lives and our time together was a beautiful place to find commonality and comfort knowing that there was support even within our own Goodie community.
Additionally, this team presented on the topic of food insecurity to the whole of Cloud for Good to help increase awareness and empathy for the food insecure and equip our Goodies with the knowledge and next steps necessary to help.
This holiday season, consider how you can contribute some time, space, or financial support to our neighbors in need. Volunteer needs are heightened during the holidays, and Cloud for Good encourages all to find space in your heart for those in need.
Visit this guide for donation best practices, and please consider giving or volunteering to your local organization fighting food insecurity.