There is something therapeutic about going outside and digging in the dirt on a nice spring day. It's the fresh air, hard work and for Ford volunteers, a good feeling that comes from helping others.
More than 650 Ford employees and retirees joined MODEL Teams and fanned out into local communities for a Ford Accelerated Action Day in May dedicated to creating a better world. The Ford Volunteers Corps was on the job in parks, nature preserves and community centers. They improved shorelines, created and expanded vegetable gardens, and planted trees and flowers.
"The whole concept of Accelerated Action Days is a real commitment on Ford's part to do something impactful for the community," said Jeff Adams, development director, City Mission in Detroit. "To allow their employees to come out and work is a pretty substantial investment by Ford, and a big economic benefit for places like City Mission."
Ford volunteers built a rainwater collection system at City Mission that will be used to water a vegetable garden that provides fresh produce for needy people in the area. This was one of the dozens of projects throughout the community that were selected by Ford's nonprofit agency partners. Ford provided $50,000 in mini-grants to purchase the tools and materials needed to complete much of the work at Starfish Family Services, Veteran's Haven, Southwest Housing Solutions, City Mission and elsewhere.
"We've got an energized group of people here and we meet great people from the community who do this every day," said Brian Wegner, Lincoln Product Planning, who helped construct the rainwater collection system. "Most of us are engineers and a lot of our guys were getting out paper and sketching because we need a blueprint. We're building our first prototype."
"We've got engineers out here re-engineering my ideas and doing a great job," said Adams. "We depend a lot on volunteers. They have a big impact on the community."
Ford volunteers at Southwest Housing Solutions painted porches and picnic tables, and expanded the vegetable garden used to supplement the soups and salads served to homeless men and women at the Go-Getters Drop-in Center.
"We could never do this without the Ford volunteers," said Shirley Cockrell, director, Go-Getters. "They're wonderful workers with a good sense of humor. We appreciate it."
The Ford Volunteer Corps this year joined forces with Ford GreenIT to expand the reach of better world environmental activities. Ford volunteers collected unused computers and electronic equipment for recycling.
The next Ford Accelerated Action Day is September 14, part of Ford Global Week of Caring.
"It's an honor to be able to give back in the name of Ford Motor Company," said Perissa Millender, Lincoln Program Management. "It's motivating to see my coworkers have the same passion as I do. It means a lot."