What do you get when you take 588 socially conscious County employees, the Council of Community Services’ Annual Food Drive and a little friendly competition? A lot of food…8.4 tons to be precise.
During one of the County Commissioners regularly scheduled meetings In October, the Commissioners were discussing Campbell County’s participation in the upcoming Annual Food Drive. It was during this discussion that Commissioner Christensen had the idea for a competition between the various County departments. “If the County is going to commit to participating in activities which serve our community, then we need to commit in a way that is meaningful”, explained Christensen. Christensen went on to suggest that the Commissioners could sponsor an incentive for the County department that collected the most food, “the fairest way to determine who will receive the reward will be based upon which department collects the most pounds of food per employee”. The other Commissioners concurred with Commissioner Christensen and decided to offer a reward – breakfast or lunch for the department with the most per person food poundage.
Thus, the stage was set. For the next four weeks employees hauled in boxes of food. Some departments, such as the County Attorney’s Office, Public Works and Road and Bridge took truckloads of food directly to the food bank. “It was fun to see the different strategies emerge from this competition” stated Susan Goff, Campbell County Human Resource Administrative Assistant. “Some departments regularly brought in food, while other departments strategized and stashed their collected food out of sight from other departments in an effort to keep them from knowing how much had been collected”.
Coordination of the County’s food drive efforts were primarily headed up by Susan Goff from Human Resources. Lee Zahn, with assistance from several other employees from Public Works and Road and Bridge, were instrumental in gathering and delivering the food donations. “Even when the weather turned bitterly cold Lee would say, ‘it’s for a good cause’. He always kept a positive outlook” shared Susan Goff, of Zahn. “This is something I enjoy doing. I know it all goes to a good cause”, stated Zahn. Every week Zahn and Goff collected the food from each of the departments. At each pick-up point the food was carefully weighed and tracked. The weekly totals were then released to all of the departments, which fueled the fires of competition.
In years past, Campbell County, the City of Gillette and Campbell County Memorial Hospital competed with each other to see which agency could collect the most food. “Since we have stopped competing with the City and the Hospital, the amount of food donated by the County employees had declined significantly”, commented Zahn. “The Commissioners idea of a competition gave a boost to this year’s food drive for the County”, he continued. Just how much of a difference did the competition make? “I think the competition helped a lot”, shared Jed Holder, who has helped Zahn with several aspects of collecting the donations. Jed went on to say, “It (the food drive) seemed to be on everyone’s mind more this year. I would hear people talking about it on a daily basis”. Charlotte Terry, HR and Risk Management Director shared a similar sentiment, “the competition dramatically increased the amount of donations, and that was the goal we were trying to accomplish”.
The competition was fierce and several departments battled back and forth taking the lead only to be knocked out of their lofty position the next week. When the final computations were made it was the Road and Bridge department that emerged as the victorious leaders. Together they collected over 7,800 pounds of food, which equated to approximately 187 pounds per employee. “I am extremely proud of the men and women here (Road and Bridge), they just kept giving and giving”, shared Kevin Geis, Road and Bridge Director. Lorraine Terrell, Administrative Assistant at Road and Bridge pointed out that while their department won the County competition, “the real winners were the Council of Community Services and the families they serve”.
In 2007 County employees donated a total of 4.4 tons of food, the highest amount on record; that is until this year. Campbell County has the equivalent of 588 full-time employees, which means the average amount of food donated was over 28 pounds per employee. “We have always known Campbell County employees are extremely generous and this year’s food drive just goes to prove how generous they are” said Commissioner Christensen. “We are really proud of the Campbell County employees; not just the work they do for the County, but also the good work they do for their community”, concluded Christensen.