Giving back to communities across North America during our national sales meeting is an outgrowth of Interface’s culture. We’re proud that our associates eagerly devote half a day to work with local organizations and leave a legacy of our time in the community. These “Legacy Projects” are always a highlight of our meeting.
2013 took us to San Antonio to enjoy a few days of warmth, sunshine and Texas hospitality. While San Antonio is a top tourist destination in Texas, it is also one of the poorest cities in Texas and the nation. Tens of thousands of residents, a large portion of which are children, deal with homelessness, poverty, hunger, lack of education, neglect and abuse.
After two site visits and meetings with 16 hardworking organizations, we narrowed our projects down to six very deserving groups:
Warrior and Family Support Center
San Antonio is home to numerous military facilities, including the Brooke Army Medical Center, one of the world’s best trauma centers where many Wounded Warriors receive medical care. We worked at the Warrior and Family Support Center to spruce up their 14 acres. This was our first Legacy Project with a military connection, and a highlight of the afternoon was getting to watch a Purple Heart ceremony.
San Antonio Food Bank
Through partnerships with more than 500 agencies in a 16 county area, the Food Bank provides food to 58,000 individuals each week. In 2012 that added up to 48 million pounds of food. Our team packed 1,200 forty-pound cartons of donated food. We also staffed a mobile food pantry that distributed food to 300 families.
San Antonio Housing Authority
The San Antonio Housing Authority is the 13th largest housing agency in the nation with 136 developments and over 8,000 units. They provide housing for low income individuals, seniors, and disabled residents. We built a community garden with eight ADA-accessible raised bed gardens for the senior citizen residents and also played some bingo.
Eastside Promise Neighborhood
Our three other projects involved an organization called the Eastside Promise Neighborhood (EPN), whose mission is to administer holistic solutions to create strong families, neighborhoods and schools. Nearly every child in this neighborhood is economically disadvantaged with 60% of children living in poverty.
Bowden Elementary School
At Bowden Elementary School, we installed 23 area rugs in the kindergarten, first grade and second grade classrooms. This allowed the principal to preserve the field trip budget, and while we were there, we also did some fun craft activities with the kids.
Tynan Early Childhood Center
The Tynan Early Childhood Center works with 3 and 4 year-olds to ensure they have the skills to succeed in kindergarten. We helped turn their grounds into an outdoor science lab, upgraded their garden plots and got the beds ready for planting. We also assembled literacy backpacks and helped in the library.
Ella Austin Community Center
At the Ella Austin Community Center we spent quality time with the senior citizens, including many games of bingo. We also worked with the after school program for kids, helping them with homework and discussing careers.
Overall, we had an amazing afternoon working in the San Antonio community. So much can be accomplished in a few short hours. The children gave us homemade thank you notes, and we heard they were buzzing for days, saying it felt like Christmas. The senior citizens invited us to come back the next day. Our employees were energized and we not only left a legacy for the past, we also sparked new legacies for the future.