During its annual Week of Caring ExxonMobil volunteers helped organizations and saw firsthand the work of United Way and its Community Partner agencies that benefit from the annual United Way Campaign. This unique opportunity for volunteers to work on various community service projects was led by Community Relations Advisor, E.J. (Casey) Bednarzyk, who shared some of his personal observations in our latest blog.
This was my initiation year to become a leader for ExxonMobil’s Week of Caring. In the past, as a participant, I’ve happily taken part as a volunteer giving back to my community. This year in my new role as Community Relations Advisor, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the wide breadth of community involvement that is required as well as the wonderful work that has taken place over the years to help meet the needs and better our communities – So for me, the question I had - how can ExxonMobil continue to meet these needs? At first it seemed like a monumental task, however working with United Way of Hunterdon County we were able to quickly decide which agency projects we would take while making the largest impact, how many volunteers would be required for each project and be able to ensure that the necessary supplies were purchased and available on time.
I feel very fortunate to be the Community Relations Advisor for such a wonderful organization where the Corporate mission is to enhance the communities which we work and live– I get to witness the joy my colleagues experience when they have the opportunity to give back to the community and the gratitude felt by the organizations and people we are here to help.
Every day during Week of Caring – whether I was making sure that the right supplies were delivered to Binnacle House so our volunteers could make sure the boys who lived there were surrounded by a freshly painted, welcoming space – maybe the only welcoming space those boys have been in for some time - or gleaning apples alongside my colleagues at America’s Grow-A-Row, all of us proud to be doing a small part toward reducing food insecurity – I knew this was where I’m supposed to be.
Life has a way of catching us by surprise and each day brings changes we can’t anticipate, and some of those changes are shattering. I know this from personal experience. But being able to connect to the community, to surround ourselves with caring people and to help others – these are the things we do to move forward and embrace life because those connections are what matter most.
I am fortunate to work for a company that not only recognizes how important these connections are, but provides us with opportunities to support the community in so many ways. I’m sure every one of my colleagues can tell you about an experience they had or a person they met while during a volunteer activity. And I’m sure that story will stay with them as they move through their career.
I want to thank everyone who helped make this year’s Week of Caring a success – ExxonMobil, United Way of Hunterdon County, participating agencies, team leads, and everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to pay it forward. I am humbled by your generosity, but more than that I am inspired to do more.
E.J. (Casey) Bednarzyk