This June, Milwaukee-area Joy Global employees gathered to volunteer their time to sort food for Hunger Task Force, a free and local food bank that serves over 51 food pantries. After large bins of donated food are unloaded onto the conveyer belt, employees manned a station and were assigned a particular food they needed to pull from the belt. For example, one employee might be in charge of pulling all of the soup, another in charge of proteins like canned tuna and chicken, and yet another in charge of peanut butter. At each station along the line, the food is pulled off for each category and another employee boxes it up. Eventually, the food finds its way to a food pantry.

Employees come together both to make a difference and to have fun. “It saddens me that there are people close by who lack basic comforts in their lives. I admire people who want to help others and strive to be one of those people. Hunger Task Force is really easy, with lots of laughs and it is nice connecting with coworkers outside of the workplace” shared Josef, Intern - Industrial Engineer.

Cathy, Global Community Relations Manager added, “There’s a real sense of teamwork during the food sort. Employees start to see how they can help their neighbor further down the conveyer belt and everyone quickly starts to work together like a well-oiled machine. This time we sorted over 17,000 lbs. of food in just less than three hours.”

This is the second time Milwaukee area employees have participated in this volunteer experience; however, Hunger Task Force has been an important organization in the community for many years. While the company financially supports the organization, employees also support it through things like chili cook-offs or popcorn sales or by raising funds and collecting food at the annual employee bowling event in October.

Supporting organizations that address the issue of hunger is part of Joy Global’s focus on human services. An individual cannot thrive if they are hungry, so working to address this basic need is the first step in helping members of our local community find success academically and economically. In Milwaukee, the issue of hunger is very real with 82% of the students in Milwaukee Public Schools qualifying for free and reduced meals. As we work to provide opportunities for success through education, we also recognize the role hunger and nutrition plays in making this success possible.