One of the things I love about Bronto, and NetSuite, is our company’s commitment to giving back to the communities that we live and work in. Last week was our annual Global SuiteImpact Week. In 26 NetSuite offices around the globe, employees worked together, donating their time and energy to deserving organizations in our local areas. Here in Durham, NC, the week benefited a wide range of non-profit organizations that Bronto supports.
I had the privilege of spending the afternoon with nine colleagues at Urban Ministries of Durham, whose mission is to end homelessness and meet the emergency needs of very poor and hungry neighbors through its programs. We had a great afternoon together. Our best planning minds were put to work redesigning the food pantry. Their goal: Provide an easier, more logical way for UMD clients to get the food they need and for volunteers to keep it restocked.
The remainder of the group worked together preparing donated clothing for the UMD clothing ‘store.’ We worked to make sure that UMD clients have the experience of shopping in a retail location that preserves their dignity and self-esteem, in spite of their current difficult life circumstances. Veronique and I began restocking the store. We learned that the need is so great that clients are allowed only one new pair of underwear and one pair of socks per person per visit. Can you imagine that? It made me want to run out and buy supplies for every sock and underwear bin that was empty. Certain sizes and types of clothing were hard to find, and we often sent our colleagues scrambling for more scrubs, workboots, infant onesies and winter coats.
The rest of the team sorted through donated clothes to ensure they were clean and had no flaws (zippers work, all buttons in place, etc.). The work was taxing in a physical way as we hauled bundles of clothes up and down stairs. But it was more taxing on an emotional level. We used the time to talk together about UMD’s clients, how quickly one’s life circumstances could change and how anyone could find themselves in such a difficult position. Veronique shared the story of her dad’s friend who got divorced and then lost his job in the span of a few months. Victor’s eyes welled up as he restocked the infant section of the store, thinking how hard it must be to have a baby and be homeless or on the brink of becoming homeless.
I had not ever had the chance to work with Victor or Veronique before, but in one afternoon, I got to know them as people, not just colleagues. They reminded me why I love Bronto so much. Bronto attracts the best people and then brings out the best in them. These are people I am proud to say are my colleagues. And together, we finished the day exhausted but smiling that we had made a difference in the lives of our neighbors.