October 5, 2022

Here to Elevate Louisiana

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Louisiana Loyal is a movement to celebrate and elevate Louisiana. But movement requires action; action to overcome challenges and work towards a brighter future. We recognize that our state is not without its challenges, but with a coalition of engaged citizens and businesses, improvement is never beyond reach.  

The Challenge & The Partner

Food insecurity is a nationwide problem that comes into particular focus in Louisiana. Our state is currently first in child hunger and third in senior hunger. When it came to LWCC’s 2022 Louisiana Loyal Service Project, we knew this was exactly the type of widespread issue that we wanted to help tackle, and to do that, we needed to partner with an organization solely committed to the cause. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was a perfect fit for the goals we had in mind.  

LWCC’s Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Seth Irby, explained, “We chose to support the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank because food scarcity is a health and wellness issue at its core and a particularly large problem for Louisiana. It’s impacting our friends, neighbors, and colleagues far more than most realize.”

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank combats food scarcity with services and education across an 11-parish area. In 2021, over 11,000 volunteers worked more than 43,000 hours with the food bank. They distributed over 16 million meals via efforts like the BackPack Program, Senior Grocery Program, and Mobile Pantries. Even with all of this, the food gap in Louisiana is still around 19 million.

The Opportunity

For the service project, LWCC’s Corporate Citizenship Committee and Agency Relations team staged a collective effort, engaging and supporting employees and Baton Rouge area agent partners in their volunteer efforts.  

Starting with a kick-off event on the morning of August 30, the project ran for two weeks. During that time, participants registered for volunteer shifts at the food bank, where they worked in the repack room to separate food into assigned categories and prepare it for distribution. Others signed up to host food drives in their offices.  

“The Louisiana Loyal Service Project was a fantastic case study in the impact that collaboration and partnership can have in changing our communities for the better,” said Patrick Moore, Regional President – Louisiana, Cadence Insurance. “As businesses, we have a tremendous opportunity to serve as leaders in this space, and our team at Cadence enjoyed working side by side with our partners at LWCC and agencies across the Baton Rouge area in bringing the Louisiana Loyal movement to life.”

To conclude the project, a Family Night was held at the food bank. Employees, agents, spouses, and children all came together to sort and pack food that would be used as part of the food bank’s BackPack Program, which ensures that children facing food insecurity go home with nutritious meals over the weekend or holidays. As school-age children worked alongside their families to prepare meals for their peers, it was an impactful reminder of the importance of the task at hand and a perfect Louisiana Loyal example of coming together for a greater good.

The Impact

Internally, LWCC held an office-wide food drive with friendly competition and prizes for the floor collecting the most donations. The winning 3rd floor team collected an incredible 2,186 pounds of food! Meanwhile, 13 agencies opted to hold food drives within their own offices. Some even requested to extend their drives a few additional weeks.  

To date, the 2022 Louisiana Loyal Service Project in-office food drives have collected 7,078 pounds of food, which equates to 5,899 meals, and there is still more to come!

In-person volunteer opportunities also yielded big results with 158 total volunteers preparing 28,070 pounds of food, equating to 23,392 meals.

“By nature, our line of work focuses on providing care when it’s needed most. With the Louisiana Loyal Service Project, that’s exactly what we did, helping to provide support to those who need it most,” said Kyle Rickards, AVP, PHS Operations & Underwriting. “It was great to see our organization come together with such excitement and enthusiasm, and I think that’s what made this service project so meaningful.”

"Words cannot express the feeling I had after volunteering during our service project with the foodbank," shared Kimberly Sanders, Senior Medical Services Coordinator. "I left there with a humbleness and appreciation for the blessings I have. Being the shift leader allowed me to interact with our agents, LWCC employees, and to work together in the service of others. This was my first time volunteering, but it will not be my last."

Looking Ahead

This year's service project has grown from what began as an employee-based initiative in 2020. With the inclusion of agent partners around the Baton Rouge area, we were able to have an even greater impact on our local communities. As the project’s evolution continues, we look forward to providing more opportunities for more volunteers to do good throughout our state. Whether you are packing boxes at the food bank or volunteering at your favorite nonprofit, it all makes a difference.

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