Standing in Maryland Community Church at almost 8:00 AM on July 26th, the gym is buzzing with people laughing, talking, and exclaiming how amazing breakfast is.
It’s Serve the Valley. Brought together through United Way of the Wabash Valley and Terre Haute Ministries, Serve the Valley is a two-day event where people all over the Wabash Valley volunteer to give back to their communities. This year over 800 people are volunteering in the six counties UWWV serves Clark, Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo.
All around the room people are either stoked to be here and do something for their community with their coworkers, family, or friends, or they are deep into their coffee trying to reach a level of functionality. I’ve already sat down with two groups of people to talk and have taken several tables pictures. The gym is on high alert for my tripod and me. They may be excited for the day but not so much for interviewing with a random person.
Towards the back, I spot a delightfully unsuspecting couple wearing Elanco pullovers, and I descend upon them.
By this time there is a crowd of people and the gym is getting loud. I am recording to make sure I don’t forget anything, but unfortunately, some things are lost. One of those lost things was a name. So, for this blog, the couple in question from Elanco is named Jenny and The Guy.
I ask the two where they are going today.
“We’re going to clean Ruble Park.” This is exciting. Ruble Park is the newest park in the area. It’s a new place for locals to explore nature and just enjoy being outdoors. Jenny tells me that she and The Guy have never done Serve the Valley before, but they are already pumped at the idea of doing it next year.
I had heard that there was going to be a lot of Elanco people coming to volunteer, but so far, they were the only two I had seen. I asked them if there were others going with them.
“Yeah. Basically, our whole team came out. We’re all going to be working together.” Jenny is bouncy and easy to talk to. It’s nice to see someone so excited about working with coworkers and making an impact. The Guy has been smiling and nodding along as he eats his breakfast, happy to let Jenny take the lead, but decides to chime in on this one.
“It’s like a team-building thing as well.” Team building by volunteering? That’s a really cool idea.
“Do you guys do team-building things often?”
The Guy nods and says they do so a couple of times a year.
“What other things do you do? Does Elanco volunteer anywhere else?” Jenny takes the lead back which The Guy is more than pleased to accept.
“So, last year we packed meals around Thanksgiving time. We got into team competitions. We had different teams in there seeing how many meals we can pack. The local football teams came and helped pack meals as well. It was Elanco vs. the football teams. It was a lot of fun.”
Elanco is a large presence in the volunteering world for the Wabash Valley. It’s easy to see that the employees love it and support it. Throughout the day Elanco will be at several different sites just because there are so many employees that get to volunteer. The company understands the need to give back and the need to instill the want to give back in their employees. It’s a wonderful thing to see in action.
I thank Jenny and The Guy for their time and let them get back to their breakfast. It’s only 8:00 AM, but it’s already looking like an awesome day to Serve the Valley.