Posts within ‘Boots On The Ground: Service Stories’

Sunshine is a State of Mind

Despite chilly temps and rainy skies, Team Timberland in New Hampshire still managed to pull on our boots (and out hats, and our waterproof jackets) for Serv-a-palooza yesterday.  Stories to come, pictures for now:

Congrats and gratitude to the hundreds of Timberland employees and partners whose spirit positively shined yesterday.  Dry off and rest up … the 15th annual Serv-a-palooza will be here before you know it!

Pulling On Our Boots for Serv-a-palooza

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a month-plus community service effort, carried out by Timberland employees across the globe.  The initiative is “Serv-a-palooza” – what started as a one-day, annual event where Timberland employees would abandon their desks and day jobs to serve in their local communities, and has grown to become a weeks-long series of service events executed in countries and communities around the world — all focused on meeting critical needs, creating sustainable impact and celebrating the power and passions of Timberland employees.

Serv-a-palooza is more than an event – it’s a representation of what we do best, which is sharing our strength to create positive outcomes.  Our employees’ commitment to and passion for service is far too great to fit in an 8-hour workday, and so to see the program grow much bigger and broader than it was when we started 14 years ago isn’t just gratifying – it’s absolutely necessary.

Timberland President & CEO, Jeff Swartz

Throughout September and October, Timberland employees and partners will pull on their boots and make a difference through service projects which speak to our company’s New England heritage, commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and passion for the outdoors.

In New Hampshire, hundreds of Timberland employees will do their part tomorrow to positively impact their local communities – as well as those that are not so local.  At our corporate headquarters in Stratham, volunteers will frame four houses for Habitat for Humanity.  Two of the houses will go to families from Joplin, Missouri, whose homes were destroyed by tornadoes earlier this year, and two houses will go to families in need in Kansas City, Missouri.

Other Stratham-area projects taking place tomorrow will include painting and landscaping at a non-profit and community center, and constructing an outdoor stage and amphitheatre for the town of Newmarket.  Timberland’s first New Hampshire headquarters and factory were located in Newmarket, and the small mill town is affectionately considered the “birthplace” of the Timberland® brand.

Our roots are in Newmarket … it seems only fitting that our boots are headed back there.  Many employees – including me – have really precious memories of our early days in Newmarket, and I hope the space and the foundation we create there will help create the same kind of memories for others in the future.

- Jeff Swartz

Stay tuned to the Bootmakers Blog as we share stories, photos and videos from Serv-a-palooza 2011.

Tree Planting in India

Timberland India shared the following photo account of their first tree planting event held in Janakpuri, New Delhi last month.  Over the course of the day, they planted 118 assorted palm trees and provided much needed greening for a neighborhood park.

We look forward to sharing more photos and tree planting stories as Timberland India works toward their tree planting goal: 1,200 trees by December 2011.

On July 31, TBL India launched its Tree Planting Program under the guidance of Peepal Baba (pictured above) from Janakpuri in New Delhi. Born as Prem Parivartan, Peepal Baba got his popular nickname from the type of tree he plants. He is a tree evangelist who started planting trees at the age of 10.

The park at Janakpuri

5 foot tall palms which will add to the green cover of Janakpuri Park

Ground being prepared

Trees arrive in eco-friendly transport

Volunteers get instruction from Peepal Baba on techniques of digging

Never too late to plant your first tree!

First tree planted by TBL India

... and soon many followed

Presenting nature's heroes

... and TBL India's evangelist

Sharing Strength in Japan

Takashi Lee is the Country Manager for Timberland Japan.  Below, he shares with us his recent experience traveling to and serving survivors in parts of Japan that were devastated by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March.

On the early morning of June 29th, I was on the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) heading for Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, which is in the northern part of Japan about 400km away from Tokyo. It’s been more than four months since the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, but even now, I am sometimes struck by the false sensation that the earth is shaking.

When the huge earthquake hit Japan on the afternoon of March 11th, I was on the 3rd floor of the building in Tokyo where TBL Japan office is located. Slow but forceful shaking continued for some time, and the magnitude was never a sort of what I had experienced in my life, and I thought then that “the time” was finally approaching to us. All the people in Japan are aware that a fatal earthquake will never fail to happen sometime, but we had been doing wishful thinking that it wouldn’t take place during our lifetime. Unfortunately, it did happen four months ago.

Months later, there’re still a really large number of sufferers who are in desperate need of any kind of support. So, we, TBL Japan employees as a team, decided to turn all the resources to disaster-related activities this year, in place of engaging in usual CSR activities. We have also given up participating in the tree-planting tour to the Horqin Desert this year so that we can send as many employees as possible to the disaster-stricken areas, because we think that the most socially-significant CSR activities we can do now is to help those affected by the quake. This time, as the first step, 12 TBL Japan employees including myself, decided to participate in volunteer work in a stricken area, working together with an NGO Peace Winds Japan.

It was a three-hour ride from Tokyo to Ichinoseki by Shinkansen. When I got off the train, I felt the scenery around the station looked just normal, as Ichinoseki is located inland and far away from coastal areas that were heavily devastated by the tsunami. Tens of thousands of people died or are still missing mostly in those coastal areas.

From the station, we then got on a chartered microbus for Ofunato where we were going to do the volunteer work at a temporary housing site. On our way to Ofunato, we passed through a beautiful coastal town Rikuzentakata, one of the most heavily hit areas by the tsunami. The town is located on the northeastern coast of Japan, along the Pacific Ocean, and was famous for a scenic area with around 70,000 pine trees, but they were completely destroyed by the tsunami. Only one of the trees survived. Local residents see it as a symbol of reconstruction.

Only one pine tree survived, which people see as a symbol of reconstruction

The quake at Rikuzentakata registered a magnitude of 6, and the tsunami that followed 30-40 minutes after the quake reached a height of 16 meters. About 1,800 people died out of the total population of 24,000, with 3,600 houses being totally destroyed. Read the rest of this entry »

Help Us Find a NH Service Project!

On September 8th, Timberland employees, partners and volunteers will pull on our boots and make a difference in communities worldwide as part of our annual global service event, Serv-a-palooza.  And we could use your help.

We’re seeking proposals for a one day, large-scale, transformational service project for 150-300 committed and passionate volunteers within a reasonable driving distance of our headquarters in Stratham, New Hampshire.  (We reserve the right to define “reasonable” based on how well your project meets all of our other criteria!)  The winning project will further our goal of building and strengthening communities and speak to our core values of humanity, humility, integrity and excellence.

We’re grateful for the decades of community support and partnership we’ve already received, and eager to express our commitment to continued partnership and service.  If you think you’ve got a great idea for a service project that will help us leave a positive impact on your community or organization, please complete our Request for Proposal and email it to Brianne Wood.

Timberland PRO and SkillsUSA: Celebration and Service

Last month, Timberland PRO celebrated its 10th year of sponsorship at the 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, MO.  The following slideshow features highlights from the week, including some of the activities that took place at the Timberland booth of the SkillsUSA “TechSpo,” and inspirational images from our annual day of service.

Our service numbers speak for themselves:

  • 200 volunteers served at the Westside Urban Orchard, one of the nation’s largest community orchards.  Their efforts will yield $60,000 in annual fruit production for the orchard.
  • 185 volunteers served at the Harvester’s Food Network, a food bank that feeds over 60,000 people every week.  Our volunteers packed up enough food to prepare 18,132 meals for the community and stuffed 1,500 backpacks to feed local children.
  • In addition to service day activities,Timberland PRO sponsored a virtual food drive with Harvesters which raised enough money to prepare 12,900 meals.

Our thanks to SkillsUSA for an unforgettable week, and for a decade of powerful partnership and impact!

Help Timberland PRO Fight Hunger With Virtual Food Drive

On Friday, June 24th, as part of the 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, Timberland PRO® is hosting the 10th annual community service event in Kansas City, MO.  350 students and advisors will volunteer that day, painting outdoor murals, planting fruit and nut trees and packing up food at the Kansas City region’s only food bank, called Harvesters. Timberland PRO® is proud to continue its long-standing partnership with SkillsUSA as both organizations share a commitment to leadership, volunteerism and community service.

In conjunction with this service day, Timberland PRO® will be running an online food drive with the Harvesters Food Network. Harvesters is recognized for excellence in their use of donated resources:  they use less than 3 percent of monies donated towards administration and fundraising, with the bulk being spent on food acquisition, distribution and education.

Timberland PRO® will match food drive donations up to a total of $2,000, and all donators will be entered into a raffle to win a $500 gift card.

To learn more and make a donation, please visit; the Virtual Food Drive ends June 24th.

Newbury Street Store Grant and Service Event Winner!

To celebrate the opening of our new store at 201 Newbury Street in Boston, we invited non–profit environmentally-focused organizations serving Boston through preservation, conservation, or the expansion of green spaces to apply for the opportunity to win a $2,500 grant and a summertime service event with 50-100 Timberland volunteers.  The response was tremendous and the visions for “greening” Boston were inspiring in scope and diversity. Our committee members were challenged to select just one grantee and asked that we shared their respect and regard for each applicant’s leadership and commitment to community.

After much deliberation, we’re thrilled to announce that we selected Friends of Nira Rock for partnership this summer. We were struck by this beautiful hidden gem of a park in Jamaica Plain.  As the application said:  “No other space provides its amazing array of experience (apple picking, outdoor yoga, rock climbing, etc,) on such an accessible, compact footprint.”  Join us in discovering this green oasis in the city.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted as our plans for our summer time service event evolve.

We were so inspired by what we read that we decided to award smaller grants to the following organizations:

Finally, we entered all applicants into a drawing and selected two winners of a $250 Home Depot gift card each — Boston Centers for Youth and Families and Boston Harbor Island Alliance.  We also offered to pass along all the applications to another company that we know is looking to engage in the Boston community — there’s nothing like sharing the joy!

Thank you to all who applied and congratulations to all of our winners!

The Evolution of Earth Day

It used to be that most Timberland employees worldwide celebrated Earth Day on or as close to April 22 as possible. I would wake up in New Hampshire and pull on my boots, jeans and service T-shirt, knowing that my colleagues in Asia were kicking their feet up after a hard day of service, that my European friends were in the post-lunch service push to get everything done before the end of the day, and that our West Coast teams would close the wave of service a few hours after us.

Over the past few years, we’ve added more flexibility to our global Earth Day events to maximize our impact and employee participation, and in recognition that it simply isn’t possible for every service project we lead across the globe to take place on the same day or even in the same week.

For example, the success of our tree planting projects (in support of our company’s commitment to reforestation) is much more dependent on seasonal weather than a date on the calendar:

Our team in China kicked off our global Earth Day “season” on April 1 by planting 350 trees – a continuation of the “Great Green Wall” program we launched a year ago. Meanwhile in India, it’s just too darn hot this time of year to put fledgling trees in the ground and expect them to survive. For that reason, our Indian colleagues will celebrate Earth Day in a couple of months when the weather will better sustain newly planted trees.

Somewhere between our events and China and India, other Timberland Earth Day events will take place. Projects and locations include:

  • New York, NY: Timberland is partnering with GrowNYC to help maintain the Wanaqua Family Garden in the Bronx – a 10,000 square foot plot of land that contains 20 community vegetable beds as well as a children’s garden where students and area residents come to visit. Some planned activities for the day include digging post holes for a shade structure, planting vegetables with students, cleaning up wrought iron fencing and planting garden boxes.
  • Madrid, Spain: We’re working with the Madridejos City Hall to plant 300 trees and build a fence to protect the area. Timberland’s 15 volunteers will be joined by 40 students who will engage in an environmental activity to learn the importance of reforestation and environmental protection.
  • Santiago, Dominican Republic: Approximately 300 Timberland volunteers will be joined by over 100 partners and community volunteers to plant 5,000 – 7,000 trees in “Rafey’s Park” in Santiago City. This project marks the continuation of an ongoing effort to reforest the park.
  • Dover, NH: 75 Timberland volunteers will serve at the Horne Street School in Dover, landscaping the area to complement the school’s newly renovated environmentally-efficient building. Sustainable landscape improvements will include a community garden, new fitness stations throughout the grounds, and outdoor group activities.

All in all, more than 7,200 volunteers will unite in Timberland-hosted Earth Day events – generating over 50,000 hours of service. At Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham NH, we will participate in eight community greening projects in the Seacoast area tomorrow, April 21.

If you’re busy on April 22nd and feel you can’t be of service on that day, lighten up a little and be flexible. No one said your commitment to better the planet needs to be focused on just one day a year. Do what you can, when you can … the important part is doing something rather than nothing.

Timberland Transformation at Royal London Hospital

Selina Chan, a product manager at our International Design Center in London, shared the following service story:

Timberland International Design Centre (IDC) volunteers recently partnered with St. Barts and the Royal College Hospital in Whitechapel, London to refurbish two rooms in their Intensive Care Unit facility. The rooms were in a dire state of repair, and Timberland funded new furniture and decorating equipment to update them to a suitable decor and condition.

Our IDC Timberland team completely renovated the Bereavement Room and the Relative’s Overnight Room. The team showed true dedication and hard work to achieve the superb end result. In total, we served 97 hours collectively for this fantastic cause.

The hospital staff was both emotional and amazed at what we achieved; the results will make such a difference to the unit. In a thank you letter, the hospital matron wrote:

Without exception everyone has commented on how much more appropriate these rooms are now for relatives at what is a time of significant distress for them.  I have often met relatives in these rooms in order to break bad news to them and been embarrassed by the ‘tiredness’ of the décor and furnishings and overwhelming sense of institutionalism in the rooms.  Now they are bright and smart.  They send a visual message to relatives about how much we value them and the contribution they make to the care of our patient and their loved ones that can now match the words we use.

Our thanks to the Timberland IDC team for their effort … and for reminding us that a day’s work can make a lasting difference to others.  To learn more about Barts and The London Charity and read what they had to say about the Timberland service event, please visit their website.