Over the past few months, charities all around the world have relayed the same, clear message: “help needed.” Food banks have been overwhelmed by hours-long lines, charitable resale shops were forced to shutter locations and a growing percentage of the global population require assistance from non-profits.
Zebra continues to focus on minimizing the impact of COVID-19 through cash, technology and personal protective equipment donations along with volunteer and storytelling opportunities. Concurrently, many of our employees continue their individual commitments to strengthen and support their local communities.
In fact, Zebras in over 11 different countries donated their time to more than 45 different causes during our first annual Global Week of Service held in mid-September.
Some volunteered in person while others found ways to provide support virtually. Whether employees were cleaning up beaches in Taiwan, packing food donations in Canada or transcribing documents for the Smithsonian Institute from home, it has become quite clear that Zebra’s localized approach to volunteerism made a global impact – in more ways than one. Look at some of the different organizations we worked with in each region:
Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which volunteers map areas where humanitarian organizations are working to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. The project was launched by the American Red Cross and other partner organizations to help confirm the location and nature of previously unidentified buildings, roads and other infrastructure so that relief teams know where to go and how many people may need help in the wake of disaster. The project is hosted by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with an open initiative to create and provide free geographic data.
Huge thank you to Susan Westerfield of the American Red Cross who hosted a training and volunteering session for Zebras who signed up to support this project. I participated in this session and learned about the importance of mapping and how it helps bring physical buildings and roads into the digital world using satellite imagery to enable faster, more efficient disaster response.
The Cowshed is a charity in Hurst, England, which provides support to people of all backgrounds during times of personal crisis. The aim of The Cowshed is “to provide good quality cleaned and ironed clothes and other essentials free to anyone in need.”
Zebras spent time at The Cowshed sorting clothes, shoes and textile donations and then washing and ironing them for the organization’s beneficiaries. Leftover fabrics were fashioned into homemade bags, which were used by recipients to carry home their items.
Nanismo Brasil is a charity in Brazil that advocates for the rights of people with dwarfism by fighting prejudice and educating communities about how to foster an inclusive societal culture.
Zebras volunteered by attending a virtual seminar with Nanismo Brasil. Fernando Vigui, founder of the organization, led the interactive solidarity session. They shared educational resources, raised awareness and discussed how to be an ally to the community living with dwarfism.
Home of the Sparrow
Home of the Sparrow is a charity in Illinois that seeks to reduce homelessness among women and children “through creative strategies and community partnerships.” The mission of Home of the Sparrow is “to provide hope, opportunity, and support that empowers women and children as they journey from homelessness to self-sufficiency.”
Zebras staffed the game holes and prize wheel at the organization’s Annual Oktoberfest Charity Golf Outing and supported the raffle and photographers.
A Final Thought
One thing that we’ve learned here at Zebra from our many philanthropic and volunteer efforts is that even small efforts can make a huge impact to enrich someone else’s life. Little acts of kindness can make a big difference, and even giving a few minutes of your time to support a charitable organization can go a long way to nurturing the well-being of individuals and communities, especially during hard times.
I want to thank everyone who participated in our first Global Week of Service – both Zebras and those of you reading this right now who may have joined our initiative from afar! I speak for all of Zebra Nation when I say we are so proud of you and your dedication to “doing well by doing good” in your local communities.