November 23, 2021
It’s rare for Parker to have the opportunity to fulfill it’s purpose and work towards a better tomorrow by literally feeding the hungry. But, as the team at Parker Canada Division recently demonstrated, sometimes doing the right thing means doing the ‘rice’ thing.
In early 2021, the Division’s Social Committee, coined SoCo, was a relatively new High Performance Team with a special focus on engaging team members around social issues that they are passionate about.
Soon after, SoCo identified Freerice, a mobile and web app that enables players to donate rice to families in need by playing a multiple-choice quiz game. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nation’s World Food Programme.
“We started out with a modest goal to raise 10,000 grains,” explains Christie Condron, head of SoCo and engineered systems supervisor at Parker Canada Division. “And we surpassed that number very quickly. That’s when we realized we needed to up the ante.”
For Condron and a team of nearly 60 team members from Montreal, Winnipeg, Milton, and Calgary, the Freerice initiative quickly became not only an outlet for investing time and energy to support a good cause, but also a way to maintain connection amidst a global pandemic.
In late May, SoCo announced its new goal – to contribute 1 million grains of rice. To make it even more interesting, a friendly week-long competition was planned. Parker Canada split into nine teams. “No Pain, All Grain,” “Rice 2 The Top,” “Early Ricers” and “The Grainiacs” were some of the few. By the end of that month the teams had surpassed the goal again. They raised 1.7 million grains of rice for hungry families, the equivalent of 680 bowls. Their efforts were also rewarded with an exclusive congratulatory tweet from Freerice to its thousands of Twitter followers.
“Engagement matters,” summarizes Condron. “For our early career talent, there’s so much more to work now than simply work itself. People have options and flexibility – they want connection with each other and the social causes that matter to them.”