The work of Family Services of Westchester is strengthened and enriched by the participation of our corporate volunteers and the resources they bring to us. Swiss Re shines brightly as a sensitive, responsible and committed partner with FSW. More than eight years ago a Swiss Re employee, Deborah Bernard, inquired about the need for Thanksgiving food among the families we served. She asked good questions, she listened to how our Head Start families, mainly from Central and Latin America, struggled to meet the basic needs for survival and she developed with our staff, a list of nonperishable, nutritious essentials that fit in a carton which could sustain a family for a week. This began a seven-year Thanksgiving food drive which engaged the Swiss Re community beginning each year in August and continuing through the packaging of the final box a week before Thanksgiving. This initiative became a model, replicated by other groups- businesses, civic groups, religious institutions and schools- throughout Westchester.
But that is just one facet of Swiss Re’s civic endeavors with FSW. Through their Community Service Days they have built shelves and gardens at My Second Home; renovated a community supply closet at Maple House for books, art equipment and games for low-income older adults; created a mini- Olympic day for Head Start children with healthy snacks and a gold ribbon for every competitor; and built industrial shelving for clothing at The Sharing Shelf so that no child in Westchester is without clean age-appropriate clothing.
Our partnership with Swiss Re is impactful. It reflects the corporate and personal commitments at Swiss Re. FSW celebrated our relationship by honoring Swiss Re with our Corporate Citizenship Award in 2012. And in 2013 Swiss Re employees selected FSW to receive its major annual philanthropy grant of $100,000 for our future Center for All Ages. Along with this financial support is extensive volunteer collaboration that will bring Swiss Re employees to the center to work with older adults, youth and children and to help enhance the facility through creative projects.
Swiss Re’s volunteers and financial contributions impact those whom FSW serves. They inspire our staff through their sensitivity and long-term collaboration.