With a population of almost 2,000 homeless people in Austin, there are many people who go hungry on any given day. The Give Back Committee at WP Engine decided that this is one area in which we could try to offer some help.
While brainstorming our options, we realized that being able to provide single meals to a lot of people was going to have the most immediate impact. We decided that we wanted to create something that we could quickly hand to someone in need—a care package that would contain necessities like water and food, as well as something helpful like a list of resources.
After some quick research, we found a template for “what to put in care packages” to hand out to our colleagues at WP Engine, and enlisted anyone and everyone to get involved. We asked WP Engine team members to contribute in one of 3 ways: donate an item, donate money to buy an item, or donate time.
We set a goal of putting together 150 care packages, enough for every WP Engine employee to hand one out. But when it came time to organize everything, we found out we had enough for 200 care packages, with funds left over!
We made it a family affair, and we all gathered in the WP Engine classroom to work together in reaching our goal. With our wives, husbands, and children next to us, we assembled all 200 care packages much quicker than expected. Working together to help others turned out to be a really great way to spend an afternoon.
The care packages included fruit cups, chef boyardee meals, bottles of water, lists of resources, and more. After they were all assembled, employees then took some home with them—to keep in their cars or bring along when going somewhere in Austin where they might pass someone in need.
The remaining packages were delivered to our local outreach, Trinity Center. We learned while researching that care packages like these can help local centers reach more people in need. Each bag cost about $4 to create; that’s $4 the centers can now put into another program to help.
With 200 care packages and 2,000 homeless in Austin, we can feel good about the fact that we were able to help approximately 10% of those in need. That’s a good start. And hopefully, through future projects, we’ll be able to make an even bigger impact.
Any other suggestions on how we can work together to help fight hunger and homelessness in our hometown?
Lane Holt is a Customer Program Manager at WP Engine and an active member of WP Engine’s Give Back Committee. She enjoys helping provide people with the tools and information they need to best achieve their goals.