I was cleaning up my inbox recently as the end of the year approaches and I was reminded that 2020, despite its untold challenges, also had its bright spots thanks to the generosity of many.
National Life is committed to its goal to Do good. Be good. Make good in the communities where we work, live and play.
In a year marked by a worldwide pandemic and economic freefall, we embraced those values ever more tightly. And then we went about trying to make the load a little lighter in ways large and small.
Here are some of the highlights.
We coordinated our first Do Good Garden and it yielded some great results. The fruits of volunteer labor were donated to Just Basics in Montpelier. The produce provided nutritious food for folks who otherwise might not have had access to it.
We built and installed our first Do Good Cupboard. A National Life volunteer who is a carpenter put it together and we installed it in downtown Montpelier as vital resource for those who need emergency supplies.
Our volunteers quickly discovered there was indeed a need. Often when the cupboard was being restocked, there were people waiting to access it.
When it came to Covid-19 relief, the National Life Group Foundation stepped up with more than $1 million in funding targeted to responding to the virus as well as helping to shore up economic foundations.
That included donations to both the Vermont and Texas community foundations’ Covid response funds. It also included much smaller assistance, such as helping a local school purchase outdoor chairs so learning could continue outside the building as long as the weather held.
We also made a donation to the Get Shift Done initiative in the Dallas region that has helped unemployed hospitality industry workers step in and get paid for “volunteering” at local nonprofits. It’s a great cause and it didn’t hurt that it came with a creative name.
We learned that we replace a lot of electronic equipment in a year, as well, and many of the laptops are still in pretty decent shape. There was a huge need among nonprofits that suddenly found themselves and their clients going remote.
So we took 159 laptops, tablets, and monitors, refreshed them, and sent them where they were needed.
National Life joined some of our corporate neighbors in central Vermont early on in the pandemic to purchase 842 lunches from local restaurants, keeping the eateries open and feeding frontline workers.
Perhaps the most satisfying initiative, and the one that required the most hard work from our volunteers, came at Thanksgiving.
We partnered with our Vermont food service provider, Sodexo, to sponsor a community Thanksgiving feast. This had been a tradition for 47 years and included a big sit-down meal.
But the nonprofits that previously ran it couldn’t swing this year. So we worked with Sodexo, solicited donated food, and then organized volunteers to hand out meals in a safe, socially distanced way in Montpelier. Other volunteers drove the meals to individual homes.
This video – you can also check it out below – helps to tell the story better than mere words can.
We’re thankful that we have been able to do our part to ease the burden as much as possible. We are committed to living our Do Good values again in the new year. And we continue to encourage those who can do the same to join the cause.