Posts within ‘Boots On The Ground: Service Stories’

Sharing Traditions (and Garden Tools) With Our VF Family

Last month, Timberland celebrated our first Earth Day as a member of the VF Corporation family.  We’re proud to  share our 20-year tradition of community service with the other VF Brands, and were excited for the opportunity to share our first Earth Day service event with hundreds of volunteers from our new “sister brands” JanSport, lucy and The North Face.

Sharing our commitment to service is important to us – and so is the impact that it creates in communities and for the organizations we serve.  Look at the good work our Earth Day team of volunteers did to benefit the Alameda Point Collaborative in California:

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service program, which gives our employees paid time off to serve in the community.  You can learn more about the program on our Responsibility website.  To learn more about our Earth Day efforts, check out our previous posts.

Strengthening Relationships Through Service

As a values-driven company, Timberland is always looking for ways to walk the walk as we talk the talk. It’s not always easy. When it comes to community service, we often face questions from employees about how to take time out of the office to serve while staying on top of their job responsibilities. How do you show employees that when they serve, it isn’t just good for the community but in fact also good for the business?

That’s the task at hand for Rob Rizzotti, Director of National Accounts for Timberland’s U.S. Field Sales Team, a group of fifty-plus field-based sales reps. In his role as a Global Steward, Rob works to inform, inspire and engage the sales team by sharing our CSR programs and values. Chief among these values is creating positive and sustainable impact by serving in our communities.

Rizzotti recognizes that the sales team has unique opportunities to engage customers, whether they’re large national retailers or small independent retailers.

Service strengthens relationships with retailers and business partners in a way that taking them out to lunch doesn’t. You see a different side of people when you’re rolling up your sleeves and working for a common cause.

- Rob Rizzotti

Timberland’s sales teams have developed their own memorable and meaningful traditions of service over the years. Every September 11th, a Timberland sales team serves at a school in the Bronx, commemorating the same day in 2001 when they first served at a school in that community — before knowing the historic events that would unfold.

Rizzotti staunchly believes relationships are the core of his team’s business. “When you’re serving with an account, it makes a huge difference in building trust and a deeper relationship,” he says. “As a sales rep, when you do something like this, it shows what you’re made of—that you’re a person with a heart, you want to give back, and you want your business to honor that as well.”

At Timberland, we’re optimistic that this type of interaction will continue to create different conversations and new partnership opportunities – and that’s simply good business. To learn more about the ways in which we engage citizens, employees and consumers around the world through community service, visit our Responsibility website.

Three Reasons Why We Love Earth Day

What’s to love about a day of community service in honor of Earth Day?

#1.  POWER TOOLS

#2. PAINT

#3.  WHEELBARROWS

We also love mulch, rakes, hammers and all sorts of other toys of the great outdoors we don’t get to play with during the course of a normal business day.

Timberland volunteers were not the only ones to get out and celebrate Earth Day this week – it looks like our West Coast colleagues at The North Face, lucy and JanSport had a great day doing good work, too:

Yes, it was a lot of fun – and incredibly meaningful for the local community and environmental organizations who benefited from our efforts.  Thanks to the Timberland and VF volunteers who took time out this week to make a difference in their world; the sore muscles and sunburned arms were well worth it.

Lace ‘Em Up and Move ‘Em Out: It’s Earth Day!

Okay – so technically Earth Day isn’t until April 22, but why wait?  We’re an outdoors brand that cares an awful lot about the environment (it is, after all, our playground), and we’re headed out a few days early to give it some extra TLC.

If you’re thinking that Earth Day service isn’t for you because it’s too unsavory (think smelly roadside trash pickup) or too episodic (you clean up smelly roadside trash today, only to find more in its place tomorrow), here are some examples of the kinds of things our Timberland team around the globe will be doing this week – and month – to celebrate Earth Day and support the notion of environmental sustainability:

  • Getting rid of bad seeds: At Pasir Ris Park in Singapore, volunteers from Timberland’s Asian Headquarters will remove invasive species, including Pong Pong fruits and ferns, to help preserve an area of mangrove trees.
  • Educating future environmentalists: In Milan Italy, Timberland volunteers will partner with Legambiente to teach 200+ children about the importance of respecting the environment.  The students will have an opportunity to put learning into practice as they remove graffiti, plant trees and create a botanical garden.
  • Making greater use of the great outdoors: In a local community in our own home state of New Hampshire, volunteers will help to transform overgrown and under-utilized conservation land into a public park with areas for playing and picnicing, as well as a trail network.

And, we’re spreading the love.  This is Timberland’s first Earth Day as a member of the VF Corporation family, and we’re beyond excited to have several of our “siblings” joining in our longstanding tradition of community service.  San Francisco-area employees from The North Face, JanSport and lucy will be volunteering this week for the Alameda Point Collaborative, an organization that provides transitional housing for formerly homeless people and families.  And further south, our colleagues at Vans, Reef and Eagle Creek are planning their own Earth Day service celebrations as well.

All told, we’ve got more than 3,500 volunteers doing their part to revitalize nearly 150 communities around the world. That’s a lot of boots on the ground doing a lot of good hard work for our dear Mother Earth.

Stay tuned!  We’ll be sharing photos, video and Earth Day event recaps here on the Bootmakers Blog.  Want to get in on the action?  Visit Earth Day Network’s website to find out about Earth Day events in your area.

When a House Becomes a Home

Last September during Timberland Serv-a-palooza (our annual global community service event), over 150 Timberland employees, associates, friends and family members pulled on their boots and spent the day in the rainy parking lot at our Stratham, NH headquarters.  The project: working with Habitat for Humanity to frame five houses that would be given to families from Joplin, Missouri whose homes were devastated by last spring’s tornadoes.

Inspired by Timberland’s commitment, the Tulsa Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity matched and exceeded our donation by framing an additional ten houses for the Joplin community.

Six months later, I’m excited to report that all fifteen houses are now finished and occupied by happy homeowners, including Amber Lancaster and her two sons.  They couldn’t be more appreciative or deserving of the Timberland house they’re now calling home:

Breaking ground on Amber's house

Timberland-built frames going up!

The finished product

To learn more about Timberland’s commitment to creating a positive impact on our communities, please visit the Responsibility section of our website.

Timberland Teams Up With IMEC to Help Haiti from Afar

What can you do with sixteen Timberland volunteers and five hours? If you pile them into a few cars and drive them to IMEC in northern Massachusetts, you can sort medical equipment and build four pallets of supplies that will be sent to a teaching hospital in Haiti. And in late February, that’s just what we did.

Simply put, IMEC receives surplus or discarded healthcare equipment from hospitals and ships it to developing nations where the need is great and the supplies can save lives (you can read their full mission statement here). I learned that much as I planned this service event. But when I arrived at IMEC with 15 of my colleagues, I found out that one of IMEC’s current major projects involves stocking and transforming the Mirebalais Hospital in Haiti, a 310-bed teaching facility and the first of its kind in the country.

Timberland has partnered with IMEC for years, sending volunteers to pack shipments and donating used office supplies for medical administrative suites. But I was struck by the interconnectedness of Timberland’s mission to plant trees, build community, and create a sustainable future in Haiti and IMEC’s mission to do, essentially, the same thing. Quality, affordable healthcare doesn’t exist separately from higher crop yields and better nutrition. Each element is part of a greater synergy that promotes a sustainable, healthy future for the people of Haiti—and that’s pretty cool. Check out YouTube for some illuminating videos of IMEC’s work thus far in Haiti.

Our volunteer group enjoyed a few hours of teamwork and service, but the pallets of supplies we prepared at IMEC will be of use long after that February afternoon. Look for more stories in the coming weeks and months as we continue to celebrate 20 years of Timberland service in 2012!

New Bags Bring Smiles for Students in China

Last October, employees at Stella Group, a longtime Timberland factory partner, organized a schoolbag donation at the Long Xiang primary school in Qingyuan City, Guangdong province, China.  The school, which is located in a remote, mountainous area, serves more than 250 students between preschool and grade 6.  There are just ten teachers.

For the school bag donation, Stella volunteers contacted the school to determine how many students in each grade, and the number of boys and girls.  Then, they purchased school bags and study tools, including pens and pencils, erasers, notebooks, painting books and stationery cases.  Once the supplies were packaged in each new schoolbag (pink for the girls and blue for the boys), the volunteers delivered and distributed at the Long Xiang school.

The students were all so happy to receive these colorful new schoolbags full of study tools!

The boys love their new blue bags

Colorful pencil boxes!

Long Xiang students proudly displaying their new schoolbags

Kicking Off 20 Years of Timberland Service

Freezing temps and snowy grounds aren’t enough to keep Timberland employees from pulling on their boots to serve.  This week, nine employee volunteers—including Timberland President Patrik Frisk—helped rejuvenate a local senior housing complex by repainting an indoor corridor.  “Service is a great way to build community and meet people you wouldn’t normally get to work with,” Patrik (the second to arrive on the scene and the first to dig in to prep work) said.

Our service partner, Seacoast Adopt-a-Block, is an awesome organization that formed in 2005 to improve the community and help serve others.  They explain, “Our vision was to never do this for money or recognition but to get to know our neighbors and help make their lives a little easier. That is what being a community all is about.”  We agree!

This week’s event kicks off a monthly series of service projects planned to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service program.  The program gives employees paid time off to perform community service.  We have the option to serve as we like, whether it’s leading a Girl Scout troop, coaching youth sports, working at an animal shelter, etc.

We’ve been delighted to find that VF, our new parent company, has embraced the Path of Service with open arms—and is actively exploring how to grow the program among their other outdoor brands.  Through service, we aim to be responsible corporate citizens, giving back to the communities in which we live and work.  Pleasant side effects include increased employee engagement, boosted morale, and new friendships.

Keep your eyes open for more service stories as 2012 progresses!

NH Earthkeepers: We Want Your Earth Day Projects!

Although it’s hard to imagine while we’re in still in the clutches of winter, spring is only a few months away … and with spring comes Earth Day.  Every year, Timberland employees across the globe pull on their boots to make a positive impact on their local communities and the environment, and we’re gearing up to make Earth Day 2012 better than ever.

Here at Timberland’s headquarters in New Hampshire, we’re seeking Earth Day projects that will contribute to the regreening of our local communities — tree planting, creating community gardens, building and maintaining trail systems — anything that will help people explore and enjoy the outdoors we care so much about.

Interested?  Click here to download the RFP for Timberland’s 2012 Earth Day projects.  The deadline to submit RFPs is January 25th (so get moving!).

If you don’t live in New Hampshire and are interested in helping Timberland make a difference in your community this Earth Day, check in with your local Timberland store.

Reflections on Service

The following post comes from Alan Jones, one of the Timberland service sabbatical recipients who spent a week in Louisiana last month working on a large-scale restoration project.  Turns out, the project’s impact extends far beyond the wetlands where Alan and his companions worked:

Since returning from the sabbatical, friends and family have asked me to explain the experience and how it impacted me.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to express it in a way that does justice, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Imagine this:

Get off a plane and shake hands with 30 or so faces you’ve never met.

Spend the next 8 days and nights with these people in comfortable (but tight) quarters.

Meet locals and taste the flavor of an incredible culture deep in the Mississippi Delta and swamplands and learn that the fastest land erosion in the world is happening in your country and at the rate of 2 football fields every hour.

Learn that 40% of our fishing industry is supported by this eroding ecosystem, and that one small nonprofit has been given the green light by the government to make it better.

Spend the rest of the week working with a team to rebuild a 5-acre site that will protect another 20 acres of marshland from saltwater intrusion and land loss.

Learn that this project is the largest implementation of it’s kind, and if successful will serve as the pilot program and catalyst for future restoration efforts.

Connect to people and land in a way you did not think possible, then bid them farewell, knowing that although you knew them not for long, you knew them well.

Realize that, in addition to the thousands of trees and grasses planted in the bayou, there is something unexpected growing inside upon your return.

What did I take away from this sabbatical?

to plant.

to grow.

to laugh.

to live.