A Corporation with a Conscience
Four years ago, Reyes Beverage Group, a national beer distributor with a local facility in Huntington Beach, reached out to Share Our Selves (SOS) to see what volunteer opportunities we had available for their “Cheers for Charity” program. After touring our facility and meeting with several SOS employees, they decided to hold a backpack drive and stuff some school supplies for our Back to School backpack program.
Then, unexpectedly, SOS found itself without space to house the more than 30 pallets of school supplies for the program with only weeks left until 4,000 local children were expecting to pick up their new backpacks. Reyes stepped up, offering their warehouse space for free as a place to store everything. Not only that, they allowed SOS to move the entire Back to School operation to their facility. SOS staff, volunteers, and Reyes employees worked together tirelessly over the next weeks to sort supplies and fill backpacks. Reyes offered their trucks to transport all of the materials to the distribution day location, and more volunteers to work at that event.
When SOS needed a helping hand, Reyes was there. They provided a safe, clean working environment; cold water for staff and volunteers; manpower; and a cheerful and inviting spirit. Their generosity helped make that Back to School Program one of the most successful ever. Every year since, SOS has been honored to partner with Reyes on the Back to School Program. They have continued to offer their warehouse facility, trucks, and volunteer hours to the program. Our organizations found that we share a passion for giving low-income children the tools needed to succeed in school, and this has led to a fruitful partnership.
Recently, SOS had the honor of welcoming John Yoo, Senior Financial Analyst at Reyes Holdings – Reyes Beverage Group’s parent company – as the treasurer of our Board of Directors. “Mr. Yoo’s membership on our board is a wonderful representation of how corporations with a strong sense of social responsibility can partner with local organizations to make significant change in their community,” said SOS CEO Karen McGlinn. “Extraordinary opportunities happen when you have common values and common goals.”
Studies have shown that more and more Americans are demanding that businesses practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). A 2017 study by Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers said they would purchase a product because a company supported an issue they care about. Likewise, employees are choosing which companies to work for based on their CSR strategies, according to Susan Cooney, head of global diversity, equity and inclusion at Symantec, in a recent interview with Business News Daily:
The next generation of employees is seeking out employers that are focused on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and revenue,” said Cooney. “Coming out of the recession, corporate revenue has been getting stronger. Companies are encouraged to put that increased profit into programs that give back.
The need for the services provided by SOS and other community organizations has never been greater. Child poverty in Orange County is on the rise, and one in four local children is poor, according to the 2018 Orange County Community Indicators Report. This study also found that only half of OC children meet third grade achievement standards for literacy (51%) or mathematics (56%).
Programs such as the Back to School Program aim to put low-income students on a level playing field with their peers to help bridge the achievement gap. With more partners like Reyes Beverage Group and John Yoo, we will be able to tackle the systemic nature of poverty from many angles, and come up with solutions that will make significant and lasting change.