As we shared in a blog earlier this year, professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP (EY) is an active participant with Second Helpings Atlanta in helping to reduce hunger and food waste in metro Atlanta.
Joe Pearson, EY’s Atlanta & Alpharetta Location Manager, spearheads EY’s surplus food donations which started with weekly pick-ups in October 2016. They added a second donation day in 2017 and since May 2018, Second Helpings Atlanta rescues fresh, prepared food every weekday from EY’s education center in downtown Atlanta.
Earlier this year, Joe spoke to SHA’s Board about his personal commitment to fight hunger, and what EY’s efforts means to both the company, the environment, and the Partner Agencies that benefit.
“My wife and I want to teach our children that we are blessed. We take so much for granted – a warm home, a warm meal every day. We even have a house for our car. So I started talking with them about the work Second Helpings Atlanta does, and I was able to share how, thanks to EY, we get to help people who need help.”
Joe, who started with EY, one of the world’s four largest accounting firms in 2008, noted that almost half of the 230,000+ people who work for EY are younger than 30. “Social activism is so important to our people – as you can tell from our tag line, Building a Better Working World,” he says. The company, which employs some 2,000 people in Atlanta and another 1,700 in the Alpharetta office, hosts numerous meetings every day, and many of them require catered snacks and meals. Often, Joe and his staff found that there was a lot of fresh, prepared food left over, and started looking for a way to share this surplus.
“In addition to fighting hunger, sustainability is huge to us, and when we learned about Second Helpings Atlanta and the Good Samaritan legislation that facilitates surplus food donations, we started putting out signs in all meeting rooms that any leftover salads and sandwiches would be collected and distributed to nearby Partner Agencies. No more food waste!”
It is a given that for a giant accounting firm, numbers matter, so when Joe was able to show his leadership team how many pounds of nutritious food was saved every week, he was given the green light to start using the company courier services for food delivery as well. “For EY, this is the right thing to do. We want to be a good corporate neighbor – and we would be hard pressed to find a better food rescue partner than Second Helpings Atlanta.”
Often, Joe hosts tours for other EY Facility and Operations Managers, and he enjoys explaining how he and his staff help fight hunger and deal with the issue of food waste. “What do we do with leftover food?” is a big question for many organizations – and I’ve become a big advocate of finding a sustainable solution like working with Second Helpings Atlanta.”
These are some of Second Helpings Partner Agencies that benefit from EY’s generosity:
- Clifton Sanctuary Ministries – a transitional housing facility that feeds around 30 people per day;
- City of Light – a community meal provider that provides meals to 100 homeless clients once a week;
- Action Ministries Women’s Community Kitchen – this community meal provider serves lunches five days per week to up to 90 women;
- North Atlanta Bible Chapel – a community meal provider in Doraville that feeds 50 to 100 young people and adults on weekends; and
- At Promise Youth Center – a youth program that provides alternatives to arrest and probation. It serves breakfast and lunch to around 30, and dinner to around 60 young people every weekday.
A big thank you to Joe Pearson and all members of the EY family in Atlanta!