Helping Hungry Haiti Children

Posted on March 31, 2017, by
2017 Empirehouse Feed My Starving Children Serving Event

Helping Hungry Haiti Children

Meals for HaitiOn March 30, 2017 a group of Empirehouse Fabrication, Field, and Office employees (along with some of their family members and significant others) volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. In addition to helping hungry Haiti children, we discovered how much we can accomplish working together, the joys of comradery, and the gratitude to live in America.

“I can’t believe what a difference we made in the lives of those children and families in need!” said Empirehouse President Mike Gilbert. “Not only was it a great event, but we worked together as a team and delivered unbelievable measurables!”

The Empirehouse team joined a couple other groups to total 85 food packers whose teamwork rocked it! Normally in a two-hour packing event, each person averages 216 meals packed. In our case, the comradery, teamwork, and simple joy in wanting to make a difference in the lives of hungry Haiti children drove our numbers up to 343 meals packed by each person for a total of 29,160 meals that will feed 79 malnourished children in Haiti for one year!

Meal Packing

Pat and EmilyThe Empirehouse team alone packed 7,344 nutritious meals in two hours that will feed 34 malnourished children in Haiti for one year. Empirehouse organizer and Director of Sales & Marketing Patrick Lawrence said, “I am proud to work for a Company that takes part in an outreach like Feed My Starving Children where we can work together for such a great cause.”

“I am proud to work for a Company takes part in an outreach like Feed My Starving Children where we can work together for such a great cause.” —Patrick Lawrence, Director of Sales & Marketing

From the sounds of it, the Feed My Starving Children serving event became an unexpected surprise for many first time volunteers.

Maria and Team 2Teamwork was a standout for many. Field Superintendent Dave Johnson said, “Feed My Starving Children is a well-organized outreach program that fosters great teamwork.”

“It was fun to see how genuinely happy everyone was working together as a team and being so productive,” said Logistics Coordinator Molly Merz.

“It is amazing how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time when there is a well-developed process, each person with a specific task, everyone working together, and we make it fun,” said Estimator Emily Lindahl.

CAD Drafter Jason Bisbing said, “In such a short time, I’m amazed how productive we were to pack enough meals to feed 79 kids for a year.”

Matt scooping riceFor Safety & Quality Manager Jake Reining, “It was an eye-opening experience to see how many starving children we were able to serve through a well-tuned assembly line.”

Empirehouse Driver Maria Evans led their station with a little cheer each time they filled a box with 216 meals: “Table #2 packed another box for you!” Which shows that team comradery has a direct influence on productivity. Empirehouse Team #2 finished 864 meals packed ahead of Empirehouse Team #4. Senior Estimator Matt Gums was getting quite a workout scooping 3,000 pounds of rice trying to keep up with the packing lines.

Project Assistant Doug Pardo added, “We hustled and killed it!” as he referred to the goal-breaking number of meals we packed in two hours.

transforming lives

“I was humbled,” said Project Manager Dave Thorson as he recalled the story of Emma, a nine pound two-and-a-half-year-old boy, who was saved from starvation because of Feed My Starving Children meals. “We just don’t see that kind of starvation here in America. We have so much to be thankful for.”

“It was life changing,” said Estimator Leslie Price. “The impact we made in two hours makes me want to volunteer for more.”

Apprentice Glazier Jean Fields said, “I’m amazed that 22 cents can make a meal that changes lives.” Agreeing, Logistics Coordinator Molly Merz said, “For the average cost of taking a family out to dinner can feed a starving child for a year. It makes you think about priorities.”

VincentEven the teens enjoyed the packing event. Apprentice Glazier Jean Fields’s son Vincent was missing from the group photo. When asked if he was camera shy, Jean said, “No, Vincent was in the warehouse praying with the staff over the food we packed that was going to Haiti.” She added, “He enjoyed himself so much that he wants to pack meals at Feed My Starving Children with his friends for his birthday.”

Maria Evans’s daughter Isabella was equally moved by the event. “This was so fun, Mom. I LOVE all the people you work with,” she said. “I want to join the Peace Corp so that I can help people.”

Mike moving boxesAfter putting in a full day working in the field, a couple Empirehouse Glaziers came to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children. Lead Glazier Mike Blumer said, “I had a REALLY GREAT time!”

Project Manager Beau Knock and his wife Diane, who are expecting their first child, served together at the Feed My Starving Children event. Beau said, “As we drove home, we both agree that we had lots of fun, and we will definitely do it again.”

Jeff and NikkyRecently engaged Glassworker Jeff Johnson and his fiance Nikky enjoyed the Feed My Starving Children serving event. Their engagement was announced during the event. Some thought that Jeff had proposed to Nikky during the packing event, while others thought that Jeff was one of the staff workers, because he kept receiving lots of questions from volunteers. In fact, Jeff said, “I get asked questions a lot, especially when I go to the hardware store wearing a blue shirt.” Jeff must have that “answer man” look. Congratulations Jeff and Nikky! A May 2018 wedding is in the works.

Hutera Family

Empirehouse Vice President Kristine Hutera and Director of Human Resources James Hutera took their sons Adler and Owen to the Feed My Starving Children serving event. Kristine said that the boys can’t stop talking about how much fun they had at the serving event. Every night Aden and Owen remember to pray for the children who need food. Other family members include General Manager James Bringle who served with his son Jonny Bringle, an Apprentice Journeyman.

Team 4A three-generation family team also came to serve at Feed My Starving Children: Empirehouse Purchasing/Project Administrator Lisa Nesteby, her daughter Leah Christianson, a Glassworker, and her grand daughter Laylie. Six-year-old Laylie said, “Grandma, it was so much fun I want to do it again!” Lisa said, “It was eye-opening to realize how many kids are starving in the world and to see the thousands of meals we packed in two hours that can make a difference.”

Empirehouse is intentional about giving back by serving our community throughout the year in a variety of outreach efforts including Toys for Tots and Feed My Starving Children. 

Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)

Empirehouse: Great Company. Great People. Great Results!

Photography and written by Jennifer Klitzke, Empirehouse Marketing & Image Coordinator. For more information, contact