Doing business in a way that makes a positive difference in the world is important to me and my PepsiCo colleagues. That is why I encourage and support my team’s participation in PepsiCo Gives Back, an annual initiative that offers our employees in the Greater New York area volunteering opportunities.
In past years during PepsiCo Gives Back, teams of PepsiCo volunteers have repaired buildings, restored walking trails and mentored school children. This year we worked with Rise Against Hunger to package 10,000 meals in 24 hours.
My team’s shift started at 9:30 a.m. We picked up hair nets and baseball caps and our PepsiCo Gives Back t-shirts, entered a transformed conference room, and heard the sound that would mark our progress — a resounding gong that rang out every time we packaged 1,000 meals.
Volunteers took up specific tasks. Some filled bags with vitamin packs, dehydrated vegetables, rice and soy. Each of these meals feeds a family of six and cost only $0.29 cents. Other volunteers weighed and sealed the bags, boxed them up, or stacked them in an ever-growing pile. What seemed like a daunting task at the beginning of the day was halfway through at noon, with the gong signaling we were done shortly before 3:00 p.m.
The meals are distributed through Rise Against Hunger partners at schools. In the countries Rise Against Hunger serves, many families are forced to choose between sending their children to school and having them remain home to work or search for food, so the school meals attract children to education programs and also prevent dropouts — especially among girls. In addition to schools, meals are provided to orphanages, clinics and vocational centers.
Our volunteer efforts to assist Rise Against Hunger support PepsiCo’s broader 2025 Agenda, which comprises PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose goals. Performance with Purpose is PepsiCo’s vision to deliver top-tier financial performance over the long term by integrating sustainability into our business strategy and operations. As part of this agenda, we have set a target to provide access to least three billion servings of nutritious food and beverages to underserved consumers and communities by 2025.
Our goals also include investing, together with the PepsiCo Foundation, $100 million to benefit women and girls around the world in communities near we work through, for example, improving nutrition, providing access to safe water and supporting education and workforce readiness.
To deliver on all of our Performance with Purpose goals, we are engaging PepsiCo associates across the globe and making the most of our scale as a global food and beverage company. There is much to be done to achieve our goals, but, together, we are determined to succeed in creating a healthier and more sustainable future for the communities we serve.