Kansas employees pile up volunteer hours

blood-driveRemember the first day of school essay assignment where you described what you did on your summer vacation? This summer found 43 employees and their families at the Hutchinson, Kan., Processing and Food Ingredients plant piling up volunteer hours supporting their local United Way and American Red Cross chapters.

When the Red Cross bloodmobile pulled in to the plant parking lot in early July, 32 employees rolled up their sleeves and got to work donating 26 units of blood. “One unit of blood can potentially save three lives,” explains Gina Smith, CHS Human Resources administrator, event coordinator and donor. “Our teams’ selfless donations translates into saving 78 lives!”

First-time blood donor Ryan Ransic, CHS Hutchinson soy operator, was initially nervous. He was motivated by the tremendous need. “I believe in helping others; it’s the right thing to do,” says Ransic. “There is not a better feeling in the world than knowing you have helped someone in need.”

August volunteer hours were devoted to a United Way project at a neighborhood home for people with special needs. Eleven employees and their families poured a concrete pad at the base of a wheelchair ramp, replaced steps on a very tall wooden stairway, and did landscaping and clean up that included hauling away four truckloads of plant debris.

“I enjoy the group projects,” says Smith. “There’s nothing like rolling up your sleeves next to someone that you otherwise may not have an opportunity to meet. You can learn a lot about people just by working side by side.”

Eligible full-time CHS employees have a total of 16 hours of paid time to volunteer. Regularly scheduled part-time employees can enjoy a total of eight hours of volunteer time. That’s an employee benefit that Smith finds very gratifying. “It’s a good feeling to help others,” reflected Smith. “In the great scheme of things, every one of us can make a difference with generally very little effort.” united-way_660-x284

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