2018 Charles Schwab Volunteers

Volunteering with the "Schwabbies"

At Sustainable Food Center, we have something for everyone: SFC Farmers’ Markets every weekend for people who want to buy fresh, local produce, cooking and gardening classes for folks looking to learn new skills, and even business retreats for companies who want to team build while giving back.

Some people, however, prefer to get their hands dirty at a volunteer day in our Teaching Garden - which is where we hold field trips, garden tours, and grow produce for our classes and to donate to other organizations.

For one company, volunteering in the SFC Teaching Garden is an annual occurrence. On May 24th, 30 “Schwabbies” showed up for their 5th SFC volunteer day, during Charles Schwab’s 15th annual volunteer week.

  • 2018 Charles Schwab Volunteers at Chicken Coop

Why does Charles Schwab make volunteering a priority?

Charles Schwab is all about giving back to their community. Every year at the end of May, Schwab employees all over the nation dedicate countless hours to non-profit organizations like SFC.

One new employee, Barbara, was excited that she was able to use her 8 annual volunteer hours after only a month of working at Schwab. It’s clear that Schwab employees take volunteering seriously; Barbara had to get on a waitlist for the SFC volunteer day, which filled up in 15 minutes!

Volunteering gives employees a chance get out of the office and mix up their routine, learn new hands-on skills, and help out others in the process. Employees get to know people they don’t regularly work with, network, build relationships with peers, and make new connections. Most of all, Schwab believes in helping people, and volunteering gives them an opportunity to better their community.

2018 Charles Schwab Volunteer

With all sorts of great organizations in town, why does Schwab keep coming back to SFC?

Employee Kara was the first one to initiate a volunteer project with SFC 5 years ago after she learned about an SFC-sponsored community garden in her neighborhood. Schwab looks for volunteer partners that meet their financial wellness criteria, such as organizations like SFC that don’t just build community gardens, but also engage the community through cooking and gardening education, helping people to feed and support themselves.

Schwab employees also enjoy getting outside and doing physical activity – during their volunteer day they harvested and washed produce to donate to local non-profit Casa Marianella, built benches for SFC field trips, weeded and planted, and put up a shade structure for SFC’s new chicken coop. Schwab gets great employee feedback after SFC volunteer days because there are a variety of tasks to engage every volunteer, regardless of their experience or ability.

Barbara said that gardening work makes her feel like she is a part of something. She is passionate about helping kids understand where their food comes from, so when they are at the grocery store they can identify fruits and vegetables and know which plant it grew on.

Renee, the executive sponsor of the project grew up gardening and now gardens with her kids. Gardening helps her and her family to take a break from technology and be together amidst busy day-to day life, and at SFC she particularly enjoys supporting efforts to build healthy, sustainable food opportunities.

2018 Charles Schwab Volunteer

In seemingly different industries, how do Schwab’s mission and SFC’s mission overlap?

Renee believes that SFC’s vision of a food-secure community where people can grow, share, and prepare their own food sustainably and affordably is completely aligned with Schwab’s mission to provide financial wellness and stability to the community.

As employee Nathan put it “Schwab’s mission is to make sure everyone is financially responsible, to give everyone the opportunity to have money for the future. SFC makes sure everyone has opportunities not just for a meal today, but also a meal for the future”.

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How can my company get involved with Sustainable Food Center?

To learn more about ways to engage with SFC, visit the Corporate Opportunities page of our website.