Issue 023, 2024 q1

Community spotlight

Teaming up for global hunger relief

Sedgwick has long been committed to supporting the communities in which we operate and teaming up for the greater good through our corporate giving efforts and community champions program. We take seriously our commitment to corporate citizenship and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

Each year around the holiday season, we support and promote one or more organizations that are particularly meaningful to our company, colleagues and clients and that align with our company’s giving pillars: education, well-being, social services and sustainability. Our 2023 season of giving campaign was no exception. We were proud to partner with two charities dedicated to eliminating hunger: Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., and the Global FoodBanking Network, an international nonprofit that has helped 39 million people in more than 40 countries.

Hunger is a complex issue that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world — as much as 10% of the global population. Nearly one-third of all food is lost or wasted. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Food insecurity is a challenge that can be tackled, and the best way we can do that is by coming together. That’s why, as part of our season of giving, Sedgwick made a donation to Feeding America and the Global FoodBanking Network for every engagement with our campaign — likes, shares and comments on social media and each photo we received of people giving back to their communities or gathering around the table for a shared meal.

Our colleagues around the world found inspiration from the campaign and devoted time during the season of giving to team up for the greater good in support of hunger-relief efforts. Below, we are pleased to highlight the stories of three dedicated colleagues who embody our caring counts philosophy by giving back and battling hunger in their local communities.

As we face ever-present, shifting challenges, connection counts. By connecting with — and for — each other, we can turn possibilities like eliminating hunger into realities. By connecting forward, anything is possible. We hope you’ll join us in helping others in ways that truly show how caring counts.

Tess Haberfield
Business Development Manager, Queensland, Australia

The Breakfast Club, Redcliffe

Instagram Icon

Facebook Icon
The Breakfast Club Redcliffe

For Tess Haberfield, helping others is a family tradition she’s carried on from her father, who also supported those in need through his work. Haberfield was taught from a young age that the circumstances in which people find themselves are never straightforward and that the impact of small measures cannot be underestimated.

In addition to her personal connection, community engagement plays a significant role in Haberfield’s professional responsibilities. She joined Sedgwick about a year-and-a-half ago and hit the ground running to help her community, participating in her first in-person office food drive just six weeks after starting with the organization.

Haberfield’s efforts benefit the Breakfast Club Redcliffe, an organization based outside of Brisbane that for the past decade has supported the community’s most vulnerable through food distributions and meal outreach services. She has long been keenly aware that food insecurity is far-reaching, touches those who you might not expect, and profoundly impacts one’s quality of life.

During the season of giving, Haberfield joined two other Brisbane-area colleagues to collect donations for the Breakfast Club — specifically, toys and pantry goods — to be given to underprivileged children and families around the holidays.

This is not where our Brisbane office’s contribution ends. Whenever Sedgwick hosts a catered event, Haberfield packages up any leftover food and delivers it to the Breakfast Club to pass on to those who need it most. And according to Haberfield, every colleague in the Brisbane office has made a significant and lasting contribution.

Haberfield appreciated watching the office’s season of giving support grow, as small donations accumulated into a large pile each day. Then, she made sure to bring her own children to distribute the goods — to instill in them the same lesson her father had instilled in her.

“The way our colleagues have made time to support this, at a time in Australia when many are experiencing their own insecurity, has been heartwarming,” Haberfield said. “It is from small things that big things grow.”

Jennifer DeSmedt
Vice President, Client Services, Illinois, USA

Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, Aurora

Instagram Icon

Facebook Icon
Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry

In collaboration with seven fellow Sedgwick colleagues and countless others who donated, DeSmedt collected so many food and household items that her Honda CR-V was full to the brim. Prior to the collection, she had chosen an organization dear to her: the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry in Aurora, Illinois, which was borne out of a near-death experience that founder Wilkinson suffered in the 1950s. Following that experience, Wilkinson made a personal commitment to help others and began distributing food to people in need out of her home before starting a soup kitchen and food pantry.

DeSmedt, too, recognizes the widespread need for hunger relief — not only outside the U.S., but also in her own community — that has only worsened with the rising cost of food and other necessities.

“It’s an issue that affects all ages and types of people,” DeSmedt said. “Hunger relief has compounding, positive impacts on the physical and mental health of those on the receiving end of it; the generosity and compassion of others ultimately uplifts local communities and society.”

DeSmedt’s team participated in Sedgwick’s 2023 season of giving campaign by incorporating a donation drive into an office holiday gathering. Local clients, along with Sedgwick business development, operations and client services colleagues, were in attendance, and the donation yield was fruitful.

When it came time to drop off the donations that filled her car, DeSmedt and her colleagues pulled up outside the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry. As she popped open the trunk hatch and opened the car doors, the volunteers’ eyes and smiles widened in a genuine expression of gratitude. Doing good generally brings feelings of fulfillment, but even greater is sharing that feeling with others. The thankfulness of the volunteers left a lasting impression on DeSmedt.

She sees her and her colleagues’ involvement in season of giving as an effort that embodied all five of Sedgwick’s core values: collaboration through working together; empathy by supporting others facing challenges; accountability through doing the right thing; growth by the ways in which coming together uplifts communities and ourselves; and inclusion by pooling resources for community members whose circumstances and socioeconomic status may differ from their own.

DeSmedt is grateful to her fellow colleagues — Mike Betti, Kirk Foster, Melissa Icban, Suzanne McTeague, Fiona Shields, Kathy Tazic and Brad Yslas — for their involvement and to everyone from Sedgwick and its client organizations for teaming up for the greater good.

Heather Ford
Service Center Team Lead, Oklahoma, USA

B the Light Mission

Instagram Icon

Facebook Icon
B the Light

Throughout the season of giving, Ford showed up to work every day to find fresh towers of contributions filling the office’s donation boxes. Every one of the 80 Sedgwick colleagues at Ford’s participating locations donated in one way or another — whether bringing items into work or fulfilling order requests on the nonprofit’s Amazon wish list. Some colleagues even donated their reward points from Sedgwick’s online colleague recognition program, Props.

Food, hygiene items, blankets, shoes, clothes and other necessities were collected for B the Light Mission, which supports warming shelters and provides basic needs for community members in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, experiencing homelessness.

“It’s easy to focus on the things we have going on in our own lives day to day and forget to reach out to offer a helping hand to others,” Ford said. “The season of giving campaign provided us with a great reminder.”

Ford felt the excitement spread through her team as colleagues murmured about which items they would bring the next day to donate. Her colleagues’ willingness to engage reminded her of the immense power that stems from coming together. All in all, Sedgwick’s Oklahoma team collected $84 in cash, $750 in Props points and countless in-kind donations that would change the lives of people in their community.

Collaboration was integrated throughout — from their focus group that met regularly to decide on optimal ways to raise funds, to teaming up to plan how best to transport the treasure trove of donations.

“We included everyone in the effort,” Ford said. “All of us grew together through this experience.”

We thank Tess Haberfield, Jennifer DeSmedt and Heather Ford for sharing their stories and for all they do in their communities to show how caring counts.