All in a Night's Work
You could say that last Thursday’s Winter Night Watch crew got the Hollywood treatment.
A video team from PenFed Credit Union’s headquarters in the Washington, D.C. metro flew to Omaha to capture local PenFed employees and longtime Salvation Army volunteers Margie Smith and Amy McGillan as they distributed hot meals and warm coats to those experiencing food insecurity and homelessness in south and downtown Omaha.
Five nights a week between December and February, Winter Night Watch’s food trucks make multiple stops across the city to distribute food and beverages, as well as winter coats, gloves, hats, socks and blankets to anyone in need.
Last year Winter Night Watch provided more than 9,000 meals and hundreds of winter outerwear items to those struggling to survive the harsh winter.
“Our digital team is here to highlight our involvement to new employees and third-party companies, with hopes they’ll join in,” said Smith, who noted that volunteering is woven into PenFed’s company culture.
“Giving back to the community is encouraged from the top down; it’s a priority,” she said. “We like to be able to set an example for other companies to get involved in supporting our community as well.
In addition to staffing two Salvation Army canteens twice a week, PenFed’s employees also collect winter coats, gloves, hats and socks all year long to ensure the canteens are well-supplied when they hit the streets on the coldest nights of the year.
The PenFed video team was in constant motion during each stop last Thursday, capturing footage of their Omaha colleagues not just distributing food and clothing, but also taking the time to talk one-on-one with everyone they served.
For Smith, the Thursday evening run brought a smile to her face as she handed out coats and gloves to the dozens of people who visited the canteen.
“Winter Night Watch is one of our favorite community activities,” she said. “We live by the mantra ‘The only way we know how to make life meaningful is to make sure that our existence makes someone else’s life better.’”
Winter Night Watch will run through the end of February. Visit the program’s webpage for more information and details about how to volunteer.