As vulnerable Arlington County families gather together for Thanksgiving dinner this week, many of their plates will include beans and rice packaged by PRMS. PRMS employees got into the holiday spirit recently by taking time out from their schedules to carefully package 1,600-one pound bags of beans and rice for the Arlington Food Assistance Center, a food bank providing Arlington County residents free access to nutritious, supplemental groceries.
PRMS purchased the food for the Center, which buys the food in bulk to be broken down into smaller bags. The beans and rice were delivered to PRMS to package in an event designed to bring together volunteerism, philanthropy and teambuilding while helping to support a worthy cause.
“This food immediately will go into our food distribution and each bag will help to feed 1,600 families,” said Clare McIntyre, Director of Corporate Gifts for the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Some of the bags were doled out during the Center’s annual “Turkey Week,” when families picked up their Thanksgiving meals.
Although Arlington County is one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., the need for food is great. According to a recent study by Virginia Tech, more than 31,500 Arlington residents describe themselves as “food insecure,” meaning they have limited or uncertain access to food. The Center currently serves 2,200 families in Arlington County each week. A large number of these families are disabled, elderly or young children.
“We are so thankful to companies like PRMS that are willing to support these fragile communities,” McIntyre said. “Their sponsorship of the rice and beans for the families in our care is very important to us.”
PRMS has held food drives for the Center in the past, but this year, wanted to do something more hands-on that also fosters teambuilding, said Jackie Palumbo, Chief Underwriting Officer at PRMS, who spearheaded the project with Chris Torre, an Underwriting Account Advisor at PRMS.
On November 16, drivers for the Center dropped the food off on dollies shortly after daybreak. PRMS used funnels, bags and sealers to ration out the 50-pound bags into more manageable, family-sized one-pound bags and zipped through the project in less than two hours. McIntyre paid a surprise visit to PRMS offices during the event to thank employees for their work and to hand out tee-shirts and answer questions about continuing to volunteer for the Center.
Employees from many PRMS departments took part. The event was held during PRMS’s annual “Thanks and Giving” event, when company employees also sit down together for an afternoon potluck.
Sure, there was one mishap during the event when Palumbo failed to seal a bag properly. “We were getting into a groove and I threw my bag in the bin and the rice went everywhere,” she said.
But now that the office is clean again, Palumbo reflected on the small dent PRMS employees made in the lives of Arlington residents in need.
“It was very heartwarming to see our company come together and enjoy our time together to give back to this really great organization,” Palumbo said. “As good corporate citizens, we at PRMS recognize the need to give thanks to our community.”
Last year the Arlington Food Assistance Center distributed more than 4.3 million pounds of food to families in need. For more information on the organization, please visit www.afac.org.
And when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this week, remember this: All of us here at PRMS would like to wish you and your family and friends a very wonderful Thanksgiving!