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Caring collaboration: PepsiCo, United Way service projects reach out around DFW
Chris Beattie / Staff Photo
PepsiCo/Frito-Lay put its hands where its money is Friday during the third annual PepsiCo United Way Day of Caring.
About 1,200 employees of the DFW-based company together contributed close to 5,000 hours of volunteer work to more than 20 local United Way service providers.
“It’s a chance for us to get out into the community and give back,” said Paula Myers, crew lead for the 100 Research and Development division members who spent the day at The Samaritan Inn homeless shelter in McKinney. “It’s making an impact in the areas we serve.”
Elsewhere in Collin County, employees volunteered at Frisco ISD’s Anderson Elementary, where they helped spruce up the garden area and participated in relay and fitness activities with students. A crew of 18 volunteers enhanced the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County office in Plano with maintenance projects.
“Today they [totally revamped] our activity center by adding fresh paint, a new floor and new furniture,” said Vickie Duggan, volunteer manager at the Advocacy Center. “That is something we would simply not do without the help of the community. This is an amazing gift for us.”
Other volunteers supported ChildCareGroup, Children’s Medical Center, Boys and Girls Club Greater Dallas, Goodwill Industries, Foundation for the Education of Young Women, Mesquite Social Services, Nexus Recovery Center, Salvation Army, Trinity River Mission, among others.
Though just the third Day of Caring, PepsiCo and its Frito-Lay division have supported United Way of Metropolitan Dallas for more than a decade, investing more than $26 million in United Way programs.
Every fall, PepsiCo associates take part in a fundraising campaign, during which employees can donate money to United Way that PepsiCo in turn matches. Last year’s campaign raised close to $3.4 million in contributions.
United Way is the largest non-governmental funder of programs in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. Its mission is to create long-term improvements in the areas it serves by breaking cycles of school dropouts, poverty and poor health.
Each year’s service projects, chosen by different PepsiCo divisions and subsidiaries, are selected for their alignment with United Way’s focus on such improvement.
“Research and Development [division] has been a supporter of The Samaritan Inn for other charities for probably 10 years,” Myers said. “This year when deciding our project, we said, ‘Let’s go to the building we’ve been helping monetarily.’”
Donning blue Day of Caring shirts, the McKinney group served chili dogs to Samaritan Inn residents, re-mulched the children’s playground out back and trimmed the tree line surrounding the property.
“We’re just doing good for the community,” said Chad Baker, who first volunteered the first Day of Caring two years ago. “The Samaritan Inn is a good thing – some people really need their assistance.”
Over at the Advocacy Center, a different crew livened up the room where children wait before their interviews, entertained by puzzles and games. Their early impression of the center is now a little more colorful, thanks to the latest volunteer group.
“We only have a staff of about 34 people at the Advocacy Center and we served over 3,300 kids last year,” Duggan said. “There is no way we could keep that up without volunteers.”