DEARBORN, Mich., – Next week, 20 employees from Ford South Africa’s Struandale Engine Plant will spend a day converting a metal shipping container into a soup kitchen capable of serving 500 disadvantaged people a week.
The work at Lingelethu Soup Kitchen north of Port Elizabeth is one of 310 community service projects to be completed during Ford Motor Company’s ninth annual Global Week of Caring. In all, more than 13,000 volunteers from Ford operations on six continents – Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America – will contribute 81,000 hours of expertise and labor to improve their communities.
“Ford Global Week of Caring is one of the many ways Ford and its employees are going further to improve the quality of life for people in the communities where we live and work,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Ford employees embrace the company’s legacy of caring and the importance of giving back. As Ford expands globally, our commitment to creating a better world grows with it.”
That will be evident more than ever this year as Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East and Africa, leads volunteers from the company’s newest international business unit on a beach clean-up project in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
“I’m so proud of the incredible work our teams in the Middle East and Africa are doing,” Benintende said. “From improving homes that look after abandoned children with HIV, to physical therapy for those with disabilities, to helping plant vegetable gardens for older adults, employees and dealers across the region are inspiring us all in the ways they give back.”
In addition to thousands of employee volunteers taking part in Ford Global Week of Caring, the company also is contributing $348,000 to nonprofit agencies to purchase the tools, supplies and materials needed to complete many of the community service projects.
Ford volunteers are putting a special emphasis on projects that support and protect water resources, a basic necessity for people everywhere. This is in keeping with the company’s corporate water strategy aimed at understanding and reducing water consumption at its global facilities and across its supply base.
Global projects with a water focus this year include:
• Argentina: Install water pipes for rural communities
• China: Clean up coastlines and rivers
• Germany: Construct an irrigation system at an environmental education center
• India: Set up water purifiers for schools
• Indonesia: Upgrade a sanitation system and install a water pump and filter for a school
Also on the Ford global volunteer to-do list:
• Australia: Make repairs at a wildlife sanctuary
• Brazil: Renovate children’s nursery facilities
• Mexico: Remodel orphanages
• Thailand: Conduct a recycling program and install recycled equipment at a school
• Vietnam: Paint and repair schools
In the United States, more than 1,000 Ford employees will participate in 70 volunteer projects across 14 states throughout the week. This includes a Ford Accelerated Action Day on Sept. 11, when volunteers in Michigan and Ohio will participate in community service and other projects.
While the Ford Volunteer Corps is active throughout the year, Ford Global Week of Caring is the highlight of a year-round effort to flex the volunteer muscle of Ford employees, retirees and dealers to make a positive difference in the neighborhoods and communities where the company does business.