Thursday is Family Lunch Day!
On Thursdays at noon in our Indiana office, you will find us gathered around the lunch table as enjoying a family-style meal. We don't answer the phones during Thursday lunch and for an hour we just share like any family would.
Seldom do our conversations turn to business on Thursdays, it's more about just connecting and enjoying each other's company. The workweek can be hectic and stressful so once a week we and our employees take a break from that stress to break bread and talk.
It is important to us that our work family is connected to our mission, our customers, each other and that they feel the satisfaction of a workplace that values them.
It's Not All About Profit
Our farm and factory employees in India, work hard and at the end of the day, we are a better company because of their hard work. In fact, we work just as hard to take care of them by allotting a part of our certified organic farms for growing food crops that are not sold but rather given to the workers to take home and literally, "enjoy the fruits of their labor".
Whether it is potatoes, strawberries, chili peppers, or some other fresh, organic food it is shared with the folks that make our products possible through their hard work and dedication to a sustainable agriculture model that is the envy of the world.
Many of our workers are women that help support their families financially through their efforts for our company. These women also have responsibilities to care for their children who typically go to school while their mothers work. But what happens when it is harvest time and the hours at the farm are much longer? Where do those children go to hang out and play while their mothers work? Where can they be safe and still have a community to look after them?
One answer to this issue was discovered in a very unlikely way, when the fields at our Umbari farm were being cleared. During this process, a huge rock was determined to be too large to move from the field. This rock was as tall as two adults and as big around as a small house. So a small playhouse was built on top of the rock and a slide erected from the playhouse to the ground and "tada!" instant playground for the children that is located in the middle of the farm visible by all the mothers and other community members working there.
It's a safe, sustainable and really just a cool, and unusual benefit
Your Community Is Important
We know our community is important, so here in the US we belong to the local Chamber of Commerce and we belong to several national groups that make us a part of the broader community. However, the community that is near our farms in India is special and deserves attention too.
As a part of the local outreach, we donate to local activities and projects, and one such project is the local temple being built just across the road from our farm. The temple is being financed through private donations from local companies like ours and government grants. Temples in India are more than just a place to worship, they are also community centers that give a single location for the community to gather for important events and to receive important information.
In fact, they are much like the small churches that dotted the US during the 1800's and are often used as community meeting spaces and places to hear from the government or to debate issues of concern. By donating to these temple projects we are helping to create safe spaces for "our" community to function.
Secure Food Is Not An Option, It's Mandatory!
The Rebel Leadership feels that food is a basic human right and especially for children. In Indiana (where our corporate offices are) 1 in 4 children lived in food insecure homes in 2012. What that means is, 25% of children that year went to bed not knowing if they would have a meal the next day.
That's not acceptable, so our corporate leadership helped establish a local summer food program for children. This program is managed by a local church, staffed by community members and funded through private contributions. Every weekday during the summer, lunch is served in a safe happy environment for anyone under age 18 (parents and grandparents are feed too but they are not the target demographic).
As we continue our profit-minded efforts we are conscious of the need to rid our communities of the blight that is poverty, and the best way to eliminate poverty is to make sure our future generation is nourished and given the example of humanity that rejects poverty and hunger as a proper existence.
Today in the county where we started that food program, food insecurity has dropped to 15%. We won't stop until it is 0% and the children of our communities can be the future champions that will eliminate hunger from the rest of the world.
We believe that education is important for everyone. In our US community, we know that some parents struggle to get the school supplies that their children need each year. With the cost of everything going higher each year and wages remaining lower than necessary, parents are in a tough spot.
Because of this, we support a local charity that assembles backpacks filled with school supplies. The first week or so of school they identify children that need supplies and the teachers help get those supplies to the homes that need them.
Kids need supplies to complete their studies but they also need to know that the community is with them every step of the way. Just a few dollars applied to a real need can make a real difference.