July 2019 - Each year, FHLBank Atlanta (the Bank) invites its summer interns to take part in a volunteer project to serve the Atlanta community.
“Volunteerism is near and dear to me. As someone who has been a benefactor of others’ generosity, I’m very keen on making a difference in the lives of others,” said Cortez Jenkins, business continuity manager and chair of the Bank’s Community Involvement Committee. “I love the wonderful people I meet through community involvement and interacting with the Atlanta philanthropic community. I am able to give back to the community I live in and be an example to my children through the Bank’s volunteer opportunities.”
The Bank is actively committed to serving the local community and upholds this by giving 24 hours of paid time each year for employees to use to take part in community service.
“The Bank has created avenues for employees to support organizations close to them,” said Jenkins, who has been with the Bank’s Community Involvement Committee for five years.
Jenkins summarized the benefits that many employees, including himself, have received from volunteerism. “Volunteering creates opportunities to develop soft skills, gives a sense of self-worth with giving back to the community, and provides the opportunity to develop a network with people in different industries while helping those who need help.”
This year’s summer internship service project was with Open Hand. Open Hand serves the community by empowering people to live healthier, more productive lives. The non-profit seeks to eliminate disability and untimely death due to nutrition-sensitive, chronic disease.
“When I heard our interns were scheduling a community involvement project, Open Hand was the organization that instantly came to mind to suggest to them. The clients of Open Hand do not pay for their meals and without volunteers, Open Hand wouldn’t be able to serve the thousands of people who rely on them every day”, said Hyacinth Edwards, the liaison for Open Hand and past member/continued supporter of the Bank’s Community Involvement Committee.
Edwards initially came across Open Hand through the Bank as they are one of the Bank’s Community Partners. The Bank works with various organizations to help serve the needs of the community.
“The Bank is great at providing resources to our Community Partners, including providing access to our print shop for their printing needs, financial funds donated through our Denim Days and annual cash sponsorships. We also offer a community of volunteers who want to help,” Edwards says.
The interns assisted with meal packing, which involves portioning foods into containers and snack bags. Open Hand's team of nutritionists and dietitians make all the meals to ensure they are tailored to each person's medical needs.
The interns helped Open Hand pack 1,865 meals.
“Open Hand really opened my eyes to how many people have a barrier that prevents them from accessing proper nutrition based on their unique nutrition needs”, said Ayo Aladesanmi, an economics student and intern with Community Investment Services who recently graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology.
He says he learned a lot from volunteering with Open Hand that he can carry into his internship and post-graduate career.
“I learned how important precision is to an organization like Open Hand. Putting too much food or not enough into the containers for clients can negatively impact someone’s health more than we think,” said Aladesanmi.
Watch a short video highlighting FHLBank Atlanta’s Community Involvement Program, here.