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Employee Engagement

Helping Feed the Pack

When Tim Danielson, associate vice chancellor for human resources, learned some of his staff members were planning to volunteer at Feed the Pack, NC State’s food pantry, he decided to join them.

Danielson is passionate about the issue of food insecurity. He said he volunteered at the food bank at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee when he was the associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer there.

Danielson said the reason he cares so much about food insecurity is that he can’t imagine how tough things are for students who go to school but don’t have the resources to get food.

“Any effort that I can do here, whether it’s a monetary donation or a donation of my time to try to address the issue of food insecurity, I think it’s worth it,” said Danielson, who began work at NC State in January.

Feed the Pack, which is located at 2221 Dunn Avenue, serves NC State students and employees. The student-run pantry offers produce, canned goods, bread, cereals, granola bars and hygiene products.

“There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that the students have to do at the pantry,” said Jennifer Rainey, one of the HR staff members who volunteered at the pantry. “I admire them for that, for sure. It’s a great thing that they are doing.”

Rainey, Danielson and two other UHR staffers — Barbara East and Mattew Carastro — spent two hours at the pantry on Sept. 12. They stocked shelves and helped unload food from a van. Students rely on volunteers to help them keep the pantry running.

“It means a lot to me that employees — staff and faculty — give back to their community by spending their time outside of work to make sure student needs are met with dignity and respect,” said sophomore Caroline Barnhill, volunteer coordinator for Feed the Pack.

  UHR staffer Barbara East volunteers at NC State’s Feed the Pack food pantry.  

Barnhill said she has been a Feed the Pack volunteer since her first semester at NC State. She said she has also volunteered with other organizations whose mission is to address food insecurity.

“I have been incredibly fortunate and have never faced food insecurity,” she said. “But growing up in Raleigh seeing this issue, I knew and appreciated that there was something I could do about food insecurity. I began volunteering, and I have loved giving back to the community I was raised in and means so much to me.”

The idea for HR staff to volunteer at the pantry was discussed during a brainstorming session the UHR Seed Teams held. UHR has seed teams for engagement and team building, professional development and recognition, and each team is responsible for developing officewide initiatives.

“Part of the reason I joined the HR Seed Teams was to hopefully do more community involvement things such as volunteering and things of that nature,” said Rainey, a Human Resources Information Management and Analytics system quality assurance consultant.

Volunteering at the food pantry wasn’t just an opportunity to give back to the Pack for the HR staff members who participated; it was also a chance to team-build.

“It was a great opportunity to speak with Tim and learn more about him and his family,” Rainey said. “He seems pretty down to earth.”

East said part of the reason why she decided to volunteer was to support Rainey. East and Rainey both work on the HRIMA team.

East, a system quality assurance consultant with HRIMA, said another reason why she participated is that volunteerism is important to her. She said she tutors middle and high school students and has participated in voter registration drives in the past.

“I think it’s good to do things for others and make a positive impact on the world,” East said. “Hopefully, this is the first of many things that UHR does like this.”