GR company: Benefits of workplace volunteering two-fold

Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank
An undated photo shows volunteers packing food for Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — WOOD TV8’s parent company Nexstar isn’t the only corporation that encourages its employees to volunteer during a workday.

In fact, the majority of last year’s volunteers for Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids came from corporate groups.

“It’s absolutely awesome. I mean, I can’t even explain to you how important it is for us as an organization to have volunteers be a large part of everything we do,” said Rick Huisman, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids says 370 people from 18 corporate groups volunteered for more than 1,500 hours last year. One of those companies was C.H. Robinson.

“We felt that our values aligned very closely with theirs,” Earle added.

C.H. Robinson in Grand Rapids started its volunteer partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids about two years ago. Adam Earle said his company’s outreach program stemmed from an employee survey that revealed workers wanted to get more involved in the community.

C.H. Robinson employees volunteer directly or work with Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids on organizing events. The company also serves as an event sponsor.

“We’ve found that getting out and doing something outside of the normal day-to-day routine… kind of just breaks up the monotony of the work day a little bit. And then the feeling they get after they go out and help an organization such as the Boys & Girls Club, it’s been a very positive experience,” said Earle.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids also depends on people who consistently volunteer outside of work. Last year, 250 people pitched in while off the clock, the organization says.

Volunteers can help by assisting in gymnasiums, game rooms and art rooms; helping with homework in learning centers, cleaning and organizing within the clubs, gardening outside, or joining special events committees.

“To have volunteers come into our clubs and actually have impact with our kids on a daily basis, it’s pretty special,” said Huisman.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids’ website.