What do we really mean when we say we are, ‘giving back’? What exactly are we giving? Our time? Our energy? Maybe it’s knowledge, funds, support, or resources. At AT&T it can mean all the above and then some. Connecting employees with opportunities to volunteer is imperative to making a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.

Women of AT&T (WOA) — South Jersey Chapter

WOA Volunteers pack care packages

Volunteering is better together. Our employee groups are deeply connected to volunteer efforts, amplifying the magnitude of giving back simply by increasing the number of helping hands. You’ll find AT&T’s employee groups frequently making that connection and having fun while making an impact.

In September, the South Jersey chapter of our Women of AT&T (WOA) employee group collaborated with Rise Against Hunger to host a meal packaging event in recognition of Hunger Action Month.

At the beginning of the year, chapter members voiced their opinion on what causes they were passionate about donating time to in the year ahead. Rise Against Hunger’s mission—to grow a global movement to end hunger by empowering communities, nourishing lives, and responding to emergencies—struck a chord.

After building up donations, food packing events require a group to make the work efficient. WOA South Jersey came with 45 volunteers, many using their Community Day – 8 hours of paid time off that AT&T offers to all management employees to spend volunteering for a cause that is personally important to them.

This group of WOA members helped to assemble and pack more than 10,150 nutrient-enriched meal packets for shipment to food-challenged areas all over the world. Elizabeth Dunn, Chapter Leader, was proud to share their tremendous impact within such a short amount of time. “It is a truly fulfilling experience to know that so many will be fed through our efforts over the course of two hours.”

Abby Noie, Sales Communications Manager — Greater Lakes Market

Abby greets a child at the volunteer eventFor Abby, giving back is also getting back – in the form of joy.

Even before starting at AT&T, she would find time to make a positive impact in her community and since starting she has been energized by the plethora of ways volunteerism is supported and encouraged.

AT&T’s Volunteer Rewards and Matching Gift Program provides $1,000 per employee per year that they can use to support the causes they care about most. They can earn $5/hour in Volunteer Rewards for every volunteer hour served, up to $500 and receive a 50% match on every dollar donated, up to $500.

“I find joy in volunteering because I want to and not because I have to. Volunteering is a way for me to take a break from my usual routine and connect with people who may have different stories and experiences than I do.”

Large group of people in AT&T Believes shirts pose for a photo at volunteer eventOne of those experiences was recently when AT&T held a Connectivity Week in the Chicagoland area. Refurbished iPads were donated to five non-profits, giving kids access to learning opportunities that technology and connectivity bring. Abby was present at the first stop of the week, held at New Life Centers, a local organization that works alongside community partners to create solutions for their surrounding neighborhoods.

“It was awesome to work with kids in Chicago, especially those who may not have had as many opportunities as I did growing up. I think there is something so important about seeing first-hand how much of an impact you can make in someone’s life – especially in a positive way.”

At the event, Abby and the AT&T Greater Lakes team distributed 100 iPads to children ranging in age from 6-16 and shared ways that technology benefits learning. Parents in attendance were also able to learn more about AT&T’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), available in select areas, this location being one of them.

“I am a firm believer in the thought that a simple drop can create an endless ripple, so I will take every chance I get to make a difference somewhere, somehow!”

Julie Hockenberry, Customer Service Area Manager

Mobility Back Office Support Team

Three women pose together in warehouse at volunteer event

“Time is precious and easily taken for granted. Volunteering time has huge impacts on the community because that is what most don’t have much of.”

Julie’s team has been volunteering with Big Reach Center of Hope, a local organization in Greenford, Ohio, helping individuals and families in crisis. Their cause has helped less fortunate with getting the nutrition they need and partnering with them on an individual level was one of Julie’s favorite parts about this local opportunity to give back. “We really get to know the person. It’s an awesome experience; we have shared laughs and tears together.”

Looking ahead to the holidays this year, Julie’s team is once again partnering with the same organization to provide toys and gifts for the children in the community. “When AT&T shows up there, the staff is so appreciative and lets us run the show; we are a well-oiled machine and love to go above and beyond.”

While there are many national toy drives, Julie’s team felt good about donating to a smaller cause closely tied to their direct community. “We are choosing to keep it close to home which we are all very much looking forward to.”

“I love how AT&T provides their employees with resources and options to get more involved in the community. It’s easy to send over a couple bucks to a charity or donation, but what about donating our time? I know I have personally donated money in lieu of my time for various reasons but if you find something enjoyable that makes a difference, it becomes easy to get involved.”

Learn more about all the ways we’re taking time to give back throughout the year