Zebra employees volunteering with Team Rubicon
By Therese Van Ryne | September 04, 2022

We Can Do a World of Good, One Act of Service at a Time

Learn more about the most pressing needs in our communities today and how we can address them.

September 5 has been marked by the United Nations as the International Day of Charity. The date marks the death anniversary of Mother Teresa (also known as St. Teresa of Calcutta), a renowned humanitarian who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for “work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.” 

To Mother Teresa, serving those less fortunate was her life’s purpose – something she was dedicated to doing every day after experiencing a “call within a call” from a higher power in 1946

While “service” came naturally to her, I know many of us are still trying to figure out how we can best be of service to others. 

There is no right way to serve others beyond the way that we, as individuals, feel we can help most. Our commitment to service and how we follow through may be driven by our passions or based on our faith. We can be motivated by empathy, imagining what it must feel like to walk in another’s shoes in their time of need. We may also be sympathetic – finding it fulfilling to help someone out of a rut we once resided in ourselves.  

While we come from diverse backgrounds with a variety of motivations at Zebra, we believe the urge to support one another is the cornerstone of humankind. 

This is why, for a third year, we encouraged each of our employees to consider the meaning of “Doing Well by Doing Good” during our Global Week of Service in July. We empowered them to act on their purpose with teambuilding events, paid time off for volunteering and donations to charities with whom they volunteered. 

What Service Means to Those We Serve 

A bed to sleep in. Food on the table. Care and medicine for those who have fallen ill.  

These are the types of service that members of Zebra Nation provided during our Global Week of Service. And we’re proud to share that at least 2,580 hours were volunteered (a 124% increase over last year) by 478 Zebras with 77 organizations in 13 countries. 

Following their volunteerism, our employees shared stories with us about their experiences. We heard about a senior citizen gleefully greeting the volunteer who prepared and delivered their dinner, of the hospice residents who were excited to have a more peaceful and relaxing space now that their library was cleaned and organized, and of high school students from low-income families who were grateful to receive laptops for furthering their education. 

These are just a few of the inspiring stories that were shared. Each of our volunteers has a story – a purpose or a meaning, or something they learned.  

Watch this:

The Issues at Hand That are Driving Us to Lend a Helping Hand Year Round 

This year, the most popular activity among our volunteers globally was helping out at a food bank. A combination of higher interest rates, inflation and an energy crisis are leading many to believe we are entering a global recession, marking a time when a greater percentage of the population requires food assistance.  

Feeding America, the largest network of food banks in the United States, recently shared that a whopping 65% of its member food banks reported an increase in demand for emergency food assistance. In addition, 70% of surveyed food banks said food donations were down while a stark 95% said food purchase costs were up.  

And while the issues of inflation and food prices dominate headlines, there are other more latent yet threatening needs requiring attention. 

In India, there has been steady increase in demand for assisted living facilities as the elderly population is set to outnumber younger people by 2050, and in the U.S., there are more than 800,000 Americans residing in assisted living today. 

Globally, many Zebras visited local care homes serving the elderly, adults with disabilities and victims of domestic violence. They cooked meals, prepared medical kits and led crafting sessions, though most who volunteered at a care home provided one of the most basic of necessities: their company, with a listening ear and a human connection. 

While these contributions resonated with many, we saw Zebras around the world complete countless other small acts that made big differences.  Through their daily routines, they picked up litter on their walks, dropped off clothes in donation boxes on their way to work and weeded out invasive species from their gardens. They found simple, small ways to make the world a better place. 

Whether the needs of a community or individual are chronic or acute, and whether acts of service take five minutes or a full day, it’s important that companies offer employees the freedom and resources to do their part. It’s why Zebra hosts the Global Week of Service every year and offers employees paid time off to volunteer and an opportunity to earn cash donations for their volunteerism year-round, both of which are benefits that help increase social engagement and wellness when utilized. Our goal is to help remove any roadblocks to service and amplify their good acts. 

It’s also critical that we, as people, look inward at our own passions and schedules to determine how best we can answer the call, as Mother Teresa did. We can all be charitable. We all have something to offer others, even if it’s just a kind smile or some guidance. 

So, today and every day, we encourage you to join us in Doing Well by Doing Good in your own community to achieve an even greater understanding of what service means to you and those in need. 


Editor’s Note: Join the Fight to End Childhood Cancer 

We’re excited to share that we are sponsoring the Great Cycle Challenge, the primary fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. We invite every reader to consider supporting Team Zebra with a donation. 


Get Involved:  

Are you an employee of a Zebra PartnerConnect company? We invite you to join Team Zebra for the Great Cycle Challenge! Check out Partner Gateway to learn more. 

Corporate Social Responsibility, Inside Zebra Nation,
Therese Van Ryne
Therese Van Ryne

Therese Van Ryne is Senior Director of External Communications for Zebra Technologies. She joined Zebra as part of the acquisition of Motorola Solutions Enterprise business in October 2014. She and her team are laser focused on growing the company’s brand awareness globally aligned with business objectives. Her accomplishments include leading Zebra events with Harvard University and TED as well as the creation of the annual Intelligent Enterprise Index, resulting in positive media coverage, customer engagement and revenue growth.

Prior to Motorola Solutions, Van Ryne worked at SC Johnson where she led corporate communication strategies and drove PR and branding efforts for leading consumer products. One of her top achievements was leading the Windex® placement in the film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” resulting in a 25% sales increase for the brand.

One of PR News’ 2019 Top Women in PR and Crain's Chicago's 2021 Most Notable Executives in Marketing, Therese also has experience as a journalist, editor and producer, reporting nightly from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Van Ryne holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism from Marquette University and an Executive Leadership Master’s Certificate from Cornell University.

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