Volunteers gathered outside of Gossler Elementary School in Manchester, NH last week on a misty Thursday morning. This was one of six different sites around Manchester that Timberland chose as part of their Serv-a-Palooza event. As the students walked onto the school grounds, their excitement was palpable with one student skipping past the volunteers saying, “Best Day Ever!” and a father breaking down after finding out every student was going home with a new pair of Timberland shoes.
Gossler Park Elementary School was identified as a recipient of the Serv-a-Palooza event because 85% of their students are on free or reduced lunch, a commonly used socio-economic metric for area families. The impacts of the event can be felt all around the school, from repainting play areas to building a new sandbox to providing upgrades to the teachers’ room.
Timberland volunteers were also joined by volunteers from Shoe Carnival, who came all the way in from Indiana, and Two Ten Footwear Foundation volunteers to take part in the service event. Besides rolling up our own sleeves, we went around and spoke to some of the volunteers to hear their thoughts on the day.
Here is some of what we heard:
When Stephen Ammon, a designer who worked on a mural quote outside the guidance counselors office, was asked why he participates in Serv-a-Palooza, he said, “It’s one of the most rewarding things we do here… I don’t think I’ve missed anything in 10 years… It’s good for everybody.”
When we asked Jason Blades, who coordinates all of the service projects that Timberland undertakes, about why Timberland takes the time and resources to take on service projects, he said, “We make footwear, so why wouldn’t we give it away to kids that need it or people that need it…We realized that we owe it to the communities that we live, work, & play to give back. That’s part of our business model.”
The Mayor of Manchester, Joyce Craig, also came to the event and commented, “Events like these give them [students] hope… It shows we care about them.” She added “These employees here today, the compassion that they have, and the energy, is really making an impact.”
Thank you again to all of the Timberland & Shoe Carnival volunteers that came out to help make a very special day for students and the residents of Manchester.