Ernest Is All In On Keeping our Communities Warm
January 18, 2024
Six years ago, the Ernest Brand Council (EBC), our company-wide, all-volunteer team of brand builders and stewards, decided they wanted to create a way for every one of our divisions to give back to their communities. And Givember was born. From that first effort collecting school supplies for a local in-need campus, Givember has grown in participation and impact, becoming something everyone here looks forward to.
Each year, the EBC alumni get together to identify key needs in their communities and items our employees can collect to contribute during the month of September, errrr Givember. After a colder than normal winter last year, our teams decided that helping people keep warm was a cause close to their hearts. So, this year we collected knit caps, gloves and scarves to help our community members experiencing homelessness stay toasty.
Adding local flavor to our giving
While we’re a company that loves to come together to accomplish big things, our divisions are also very, ahem, independent. That’s why Givember allows each location to determine which local charity they want to give their collected donations to. They each set their goal for the number of items to donate and the naturally competitive nature of all our E-Teamers takes it from there.
This year we set out to collect 10,000 knit caps, gloves, and scarves company-wide. Each division has one person from the EBC or an EBC alumni who leads the charge. In Phoenix, that was Client Coordinator Supervisor Lyndee Ashford. During Givember, she becomes a donation wrangling superstar. “Our employees love to give and we reach out to our customers and suppliers, as well. One of the great things about being a packaging company is that it’s easy to create donation boxes we can give to customers and suppliers for their offices,” notes Lyndee. She reaches out to everyone! “If they come through our front door, they’re getting a flyer. I even send out emails with links to purchase products!”
When being competitive is really more collaborative
In the Los Angeles office, the effort was led by Corrugated Merchandising Manager Nancy Ponce, our current EBC chair. Nancy is a huge Givember fan. She says, “It’s my favorite time of the year! It’s great to work for a company that values giving back to the community.” Nancy reaches out to all her vendors and collects monetary donations. Since the Los Angeles office also houses our corporate operations, each department collects items independently. According to Nancy, “We used to try to compete with each other, but now it’s more about coming together.”
Givember is truly a unifying force. On a divisional level, our E-Teamers work together to collect the items and often even want to be involved in taking all of the donations to the local charity (which oftentimes takes a few carloads). Everybody opens their hearts and their wallets and pitches in! While there might be a little bit of healthy competition between the divisions, the fact that we’re all doing this together also brings us together as a company.
At Ernest we always give BIG
This year, all of that camaraderie and generosity resulted in us blowing our goal out of the water! We collected 16,283 cold weather items for our neighbors in need. All of those knit caps, gloves, and scarves went directly to our local communities and everyone here at Ernest got to enjoy the warm feeling of giving back.