If anyone can appreciate the logistics involved in coordinating the cooking, packing, and delivery of 4,500 Meals on Wheels meals each day, it’s the Network Planning Team at Southwest Airlines. Southwest Employees and MOW Volunteers Janet Redding, Aitor Lazo, Stan Dombrowski are a part of the department responsible for creating every flight schedule for the airline. This group also leads their VNA Meals on Wheels volunteer team, coordinating three to four volunteers each month to drive their regular route.
The first Friday of each month, the Southwest Airline volunteers pick up and deliver a route or two in West Dallas. Stan is always behind the wheel, while Janet mans the app and helps Aitor deliver the meals.
“I look forward to seeing our clients every month. They light up when they see you—always so appreciative. On colder days, the clients are always asking if we are warm enough,” says Janet.
Aitor says volunteering is a selfish act. “It makes me feel good, like a better human being. It helps me see past my personal perception and having boots on the ground opens your eyes to so much more that’s happening in our city.”
The team also uses the time as a chance to get to know one another, especially new hires in their department. The time spent volunteering allows for discussions around life instead of work. Prior to the pandemic, team lunches served this role. Now, it’s providing lunch for others that helps build that camaraderie.
“Volunteering is so ingrained at Southwest Airlines,” says Janet. “It grounds you and helps keep you in the moment. It’s an added bonus that my volunteer time earns this great organization e-passes through Tickets For Time Program. When Employees volunteer for 501c3 nonprofits or schools and record their volunteerism, organizations are eligible for free round trip travel through our Tickets-for-Time program. For every 40 hours volunteered, the organization receives one ticket, up to six in a calendar year.”
Does your team at work need a connection re-boot? Sign up for a team route today—with options to deliver weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Learn more at volunteer.vnatexas.org or email Tracie at email@example.com.