1,300 Frito-Lay and PepsiCo volunteers, 6,000 hours of community service and 19 United Way locations across the metroplex. Thursday, October 20 is the 7th annual PepsiCo United Way Day of Caring, one of the largest corporate United Way Day of Caring events in North Texas. Volunteers dispersed throughout North Texas to paint and repair facilities, sort donations, host a fall festival for senior citizens and construct a playground for preschoolers, among many other activities. All projects align with United Way’s key focus areas of education, financial stability and health.
However, for the past six years a team of the same volunteers has without fail visited the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County (CACCC).
“They’re accomplishing a lot by being here, but for us, those are things we don’t have to pay for,” said Lynne McLean, CEO of CACCC. “That impacts our bottom line, which means we have more money that can go to the children that come through here every day. So it has a real financial impact for us, as well as a practical impact.”
She and the team leader, Bill Avery had a good rapport from years of maintenance. They went through the laundry list of maintenance work that’s on the docket for this year.
“We have a couple of guys with a team out back putting up some new doors–sounds easy but it’s not–here, we’re sorting clothes,” Avery said. “There’s a massive amount of teddy bears due to the upcoming Teddy Bear Ride, so we’re building shelves for that … They need help. So we just keep coming back through.”
They’re also re-striping parking lot and installing new umbrellas for the outdoor area where kids and parents can play. Every year the FritoLay team buys new cushions for the play area, and they touch up, stain and sand the furniture. “Each year, we do whatever they need help with, but we also establish priorities for the next year,” Avery added. The relationship between this team and CACCC is a lasting one. Over half of the 65 volunteers at the center on the Day of Caring have volunteered there at least once before, and many of them have chosen CACCC year after year. It’s not hard to see why. CACCC is national lauded as an exceptional center, and every single volunteer is given a tour of the facility, including the Rainbow Room. CACCC’s is a tender mission, saving children from abusive situations and providing the care they need, advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves.
At this point, Avery and the other volunteers have a good handle on what needs fixing. CACCC has a beautiful fountain, what McLean calls the volunteers’ “lifelong project.” Every few years it starts to leak and every few years, PepsiCo and Frito-Lay volunteers return to patch it back up. “You can actually go through and feel the footprint of our legacy throughout the years,” said Avery. “And everyone goes out–admins, analysts, sales leaders–vice presidents, all rolling up their sleeves together.”
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County is always in need of more volunteers, supplies and donations. They offer community education programs, and have established relationships with local corporations. They go into schools, businesses and the faith community to teach classes on topics such as internet safety, how to have “The Talk” with kids and much more. Often, they find themselves needing more winter clothes and athletic shoes, so local donations and drive are vital to their mission. It costs $1,000 per child to provide the services and care they need for a whole year.
Other locations where PepsiCo and Frito-Lay volunteered include: Caldwell Elementary School, ChildCareGroup, Children’s Health, Dallas Furniture Bank, The Family Place, Goodwill Industries, Jewish Family Services, Mesquite Social Services, Mi Escuelita Preschool, Mosaic Family Service, Nexus Recovery Center, PediPlace, Rainbow Days, REAL School Gardens, The Salvation Army, The Senior Source, Trinity River Mission and Vogel Alcove.