2022 Community Service Award Finalists
The McCormick Community Service Award Program was established to recognize employees who best exemplify McCormick’s commitment to improving the communities in which we live and work by volunteering their time with eligible organizations.
We are in our 20th year of the program, and to date – not including 2022 – we’ve donated $860,000 to finalists’ charities across fourteen McCormick countries.
Applications are judged on several criteria, including:
- the nature of the nominee’s volunteer activity,
- the magnitude of the impact of the nominee’s volunteer activity on the organization and the community,
- the time and effort expended by the nominee in the volunteer activity,
- the length of service by the nominee in the volunteer activity, and
- the demonstration of commitment by the nominee in the volunteer activity.
Let’s meet the five finalists of our 2022 McCormick Community Service Award Program!
1. Catherine Haigh, Head of Consumer Insights, EMEA, was a Girl Scout growing up, and she loved everything about it. In the UK, where Catherine lives, there is a shortage of volunteers available to continue facilitating the Scouting experience for new generations, so five years ago she decided to join Scouts UK. With the Scouts, she is an Assistant Beaver Leader. She has held the role for nearly four years, volunteering on average 20 hours per week running weekly meetings with children ages 6 to 8.
“We are so busy these days, and we spend so much time on our screens in our own worlds,” she says. “There can be a lot of pressure on kids in school, from social media, or from society. Scouting is a safe space for young people to be themselves and spend time in nature, working together in teams and thinking about how to make a positive contribution to society.”
Catherine is grateful for McCormick’s support, because it means greater opportunities for young people to experience Scouting in North London, but she emphasizes that the rewards extend to the volunteers themselves.
“If you need some quality time in nature and want to be surrounded by the smiles of young people, please consider volunteering in your local group,” she says.
2. Shaohui He is McCormick’s Director of Category Procurement, based in Guangzhou, China. He’s been with McCormick for 28 years, and for the past 10 he has also been a volunteer with Stars Youth Development Center.
“Children are the future of a family,” he says. “It’s very important to establish good habits from a young age.”
The habits Shaohui is referring to are reading habits. Stars’ mission is to improve reading quality for children in rural areas, so they may grow to love reading and, through a lifelong love of books, develop skills to shape their own destinies. The organization collects books, builds libraries for schools, sets up book corners in classrooms, and provides reading training courses for teachers. In schools that are not adequately equipped, Stars installs library-like areas to encourage reading, and schools that do have a library program get support in the form of book donations. One of Shaohui’s responsibilities, which he carries out on weekends along with other volunteers, is to sort books by category to facilitate more organized book deliveries to schools.
With McCormick’s support, he says, this program “can create light for children, and change their lives.”
3. Małgorzata Antczak is Global Travel and T&E Manager, and she’s been with McCormick for eight years. For two and a half of those years, Malgorzata has volunteered with an organization called Zupa na Pietrynie.
Zupa na Pietrynie is relatively new to the city of Lodz, where Malgorzata lives, but in only three years the organization has made a difference by providing hot meals to anyone in need. On average, the organization serves meals to anywhere between 250 and 300 guests every Sunday.
Zupa na Pietrynie's mission has taken on a new level of urgency with the war in bordering Ukraine.
"Our main objective is to prepare and serve warm meals, drinks, and provisions to the citizens of Lodz, but from the moment the war began in Ukraine, we have also been heavily involved in supporting refugees, as well as in gathering and delivering provisions to Ukraine,” says Malgorzata, adding that it’s been rewarding to help Ukrainians, but equally rewarding to see many Ukrainians join the organization as volunteers themselves.
“One of the biggest challenges in emerging from a crisis is returning to society,” she says. “Some people find that to be an impossible task, and Zupa na Pietrynie shortens this distance and allows people to have a second chance.”
4. Terri Spearing is a merchandiser based in Werribee, which is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Terri has been with McCormick for 18 years, and she’s been a volunteer even longer.
For the past 20 years, Terri has been a volunteer with Zoos Victoria, a world-leading zoo-based conservation organization dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction.
Zoos Victoria carries out its mission through work with communities, staff, volunteers, and conservation partners. Volunteers help connect visitors with nature through the organization’s culture program, which showcases various aspects of running the zoo and caring for animals, including the importance of encouraging natural animal behavior through enrichment.
Although Terri is currently responsible for coordinating volunteer uniforms, her favorite role at the zoo is creating and constructing animal enrichment items.
Enrichment items help animals maintain natural behaviors and stimulation – a firehose ball for lions, a wooden maze for snakes, or a woven cane shelter for vervet monkeys are some of the items Terri has worked on. She also has created enrichment items to help various animals “celebrate” birthdays and other special occasions.
As a nonprofit, Zoos Victoria relies on donations and volunteers to construct or purchase off-the-shelf enrichment items for the animals in the zoos’ care.
“Enrichment provides a creative outlet for physical and mental exercise, as well as choice and control over how animals spend their time,” says Terri, who is excited at the prospect of purchasing some new tools or even something more complex and substantial for the herd of elephants that will soon be transferring from Melbourne Zoo to Werribee Open Range Zoo. “It would be amazing to have this new elephant precinct kitted with a brand-new McCormick funded enrichment item.”
5. Valeria Camera, HSE System Manager, is based in Scandicci, Italy, and has worked for McCormick for 25 years. For 8 of those years she has also been a volunteer with The Village of Hope.
Founded in 2002, the Village of Hope is a non-profit organization that sustains, organizes, and continues to develop a community center in Dodoma, Tanzania. The organization’s aim is to alleviate the suffering associated with HIV, especially for children born HIV positive and already orphans of one or both parents. The community center houses orphans, pregnant women, and other adults affected by HIV.
Valeria was drawn to this cause because she has witnessed first-hand the loss and isolation that often accompany an HIV diagnosis. “I’ve been emotionally affected by a loss: a friend with HIV,” Valeria says. “I therefore felt and suffered the psychological drama of marginalization, or even self-marginalization.”
In 2014 she decided to start volunteering, and in The Village of Hope she found what she describes as “a happy island” where, rather than being isolated by HIV, children feel supported to look beyond the diagnosis and build a future.
Valeria supports the organization through fundraising activities, as well as by supplying clothing, medical, and school supplies. While in the Village, Valeria participates in its simple daily life: she helps in the dispensary, helps run the kindergarten, cultivates the land, makes cheese and bread, paints, cooks, supports the school by creating registers for teachers, pupil badges, studying bus logistics to transport children from distant communities. But she also gets to play, dance, and sing with the children, and she’s even helped plan a wedding for a couple living in the Village!
It’s no surprise her time in the Village feels like being part of a “great family.”
Congratulations to Terri Spearing, who is the winner of McCormick’s 2023 Community Service Award! In recognition of her work, McCormick will donate $25,000 to the organization.