By Sue Moore
“It’s so fulfilling to help with the backpack program that Generous Hands provides,” said Karolyn Knutson, a project manager at Stryker Instruments. She and a team of six other employees have been filling backpacks in Vicksburg since early 2014. They recently received recognition for their efforts from the Stryker’s Champions For Change volunteer award for 2015. Stryker also donated $2,000 to Generous Hands in recognition of its employee’s efforts.
“Stryker supports its employees to partner with the community,” Knutson said. “Our team got together and had access to a list of agencies and their needs. We chose Generous Hands because we were able to connect with its mission and goals. When we are so fortunate to have a stocked pantry at home, we wanted to make an impact to help those who may not have available food for that next meal. Each backpack has on average 12 items weekly to provide nourishment during the weekend, hopefully increasing the success rate at school and in life for these kids.”
The Stryker team has also organized peanut butter drives at Stryker which have been very successful, according to Sheri Louis, the Generous Hands executive director. Wanting to do more, Karolyn and Danielle Parmelee help stock the shelves weekly. The entire team descends once a month to pack. All in, Stryker has donated approximately 170 hours of volunteer time to Generous Hands. Board Meetings are next on the list for Karolyn and Danielle, with Karolyn in attendance at the June meeting. Both Karolyn and Danielle feel that Generous Hands has allowed for them to give back to the amazing community that we live in.
“Stryker Instruments is a great organization with amazing employees. They have even developed a spread sheet for all of our food donations,” said Louis. Team members mostly live in the Portage and Mattawan area. But they find that helping out in Vicksburg is not a hardship but a blessing, she said.