Announcing ezCater’s 2021 Employee Appreciation Day Contest Winners
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Ahead of Employee Appreciation Day, we asked our customers to submit stories of how their teams have adapted and delivered during this difficult year. We received over a thousand submissions, and were blown away by all the amazing stories of teams who have gone above and beyond to support their community, customers, and each other during the pandemic.
Today we’re proud to present the winners of ezCater’s 2021 Employee Appreciation Day Contest! Our grand prize winner and 4 honorable mentions will receive lunch for their entire team in honor of Employee Appreciation Day.
Grand Prize: Hernando County Family YMCA Team
Submitted by Amber S., Executive Director
“Our team, while not typically identified as essential workers, stepped up during COVID to fill the essential role of providing Youth Relief Child Care for essential workers in our communities. We provided care for those employees so that they could continue to serve our community without worrying while their children were out of school. We engaged the students with activities to keep their minds off of what was happening, as well as helping them continue to be successful in their school work.
Our staff engaged seniors in our community with phone calls to check in, so that those in that vulnerable population did not become socially isolated. They helped with a mobile food pantry in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, serving over 300 households. They also provided hundreds of online videos to engage the community with group exercise classes, family fun activities, story time and science activities so that families had ways to stay active and entertained while at home.
They truly are a rockstar team that never stopped, even when we couldn’t necessarily serve the community in the traditional ways that we were used to.”
Honorable Mention: Pelion Elementary School
Submitted by Casey D., Administrator
“Anyone that works in a school building are pretty special people – who always go above and beyond their job description to make school a magical place for students. The faculty and staff at Pelion Elementary School are NO exception and take “above and beyond” to a whole new level. They not only shoot for the stars, they shoot for an entirely new universe.
From providing quality instruction each day with all of the COVID crazy, to serving as nurses, chefs, delivery workers, actors/actresses, you name it! A job description is just words. Everyone in this building exemplifies the meaning of being that caring adult for all of our students. This year, I have personally seen a teacher go to a student’s home to hook up a washer and dryer, a cafeteria worker bring groceries to a family for dinner, a custodian act as a mechanic on a vehicle for a family, an assistant travel to a family’s house while they were in the hospital on Thanksgiving.
Our panther family will always ensure the Pelion community is taken care of and these are only a drop in the bucket compared to the daily acts of servitude shown here. Pelion is a small, rural community in South Carolina. Pelion Elementary School is the heart of our small town and that is because of the employees that fill this school building. PES sure is a special place filled with special people!”
Honorable Mention: Amazon DHC1 OTR Team
Submitted by Marlee B., Operations Manager
“The DCH1 OTR Team is in charge of delivering Amazon packages in the Chicago area. These past few months have been crazy with COVID, the holiday season, and weather conditions. Our team has adapted through it all in order to meet our customer promise and keep a smiling face on our customers.
One driver found a wallet while out delivering and found the owner of the wallet and returned it. One driver helped another driver when getting stuck in the snow for over an hour. Another driver saw a community member in need when they were having car troubles and pulled over to assist. The whole team comes together to go above and beyond and get the job done.
Without these drivers no one would get their orders. Day in and day out, they work consistently hard to deliver packages during this crazy time. Drivers have safety/cleaning supplies while out on the road to protect themselves and others. They are doing what it takes to stay as safe as possible and going above and beyond when it comes to their performance and overall customer experience. I can’t thank the team enough for all that they do.”
Honorable Mention: Arizona Burn Foundation
Submitted by Mik M., COO
“Arizona Burn Foundation has a mission to support the quality of life of burn survivors and their families and to promote burn prevention advocacy and education in Arizona. When the pandemic hit, we weren’t sure what we would do to keep our mission alive. The staff is an integral part of the healing and care in the hospital for families with loved ones who have been burned. During Covid, burn injuries across Arizona increased due to people being home more, and yet, our social workers were not able to be in the hospital due to restrictions. Post hospital, we offer support groups, therapy groups, camps and retreats. Those are all in person events and had to be cancelled due to Covid. In addition, we are the leaders in Arizona for providing free smoke alarms to communities at risk and burn prevention and fire safety education in the schools. Covid shut those efforts down.
But, the staff of ABF responded to the crisis and discovered new ways to meet our mission. We successfully moved our support and therapy groups to virtual events. The results? Attendance increased as burn survivors who previously couldn’t attend the groups in Phoenix, could now attend virtually. We discovered a better way to meet the needs.
We moved all of our camps and retreats to a virtual platform. The results? Increased attendance and reach. Burn survivors and their families who previously couldn’t take a weekend to attend a retreat or a week to attend a camp, could now be a part of virtual sessions offered in the evenings.
We could no longer deliver our burn prevention and fire safety education in the schools, so we created videos and sent them to the Fire Departments to plaster on their social media sites, as well as on our own. We continued to reach children! And then we took the time during Covid to create an interactive app for children that teaches them burn prevention and fire safety with all kinds of fun games. Check it out at the app store or Google Play under Safety Rangers.
We have installed 22,000+ free smoke alarms in Arizona since 2006, and we were not about to let Covid stop that. So we spoke to our Fire Department partners and provided them free smoke alarms to put on their trucks. Then when they made a call to a home, they could check the residents’ smoke alarms and install new ones if needed. The results? During Covid, we installed over 1,200 free smoke alarms!
We are a small nonprofit of just 8 employees. While many nonprofits have truly struggled during Covid, and many have had to close their doors, this staff found a way to shift the way we deliver our programs and services and have made a greater impact during Covid than ever imagined. For this reason, I believe, the staff of ABF deserves to be appreciated and celebrated on Employee Appreciation Day!”
Honorable Mention: The Adoption/Hospital Team at Berkeley Humane
Submitted by Kristen L., Director of Operations
“With the shutdown hit back in March of 2020, we still had nearly 40 dogs and cats in our care who needed us. We couldn’t just close the doors and stay home, so we quickly mobilized our Foster Program into overdrive with our Foster Program Coordinator literally working her second day on the job.
Within 72 hours, we had nearly every animal in a foster home! This allowed us to minimize the number of employees onsite to avoid close contact. We then moved to an entirely virtual adoption model, which was a 180 degree shift from our usual walk-in to adopt process.
Our Hospital staff also quickly adapted to still perform essential services such as spay/neuter surgeries for the public through a contactless drop-off and pick-up system. Due to overwhelming need, we doubled our surgeries per week to perform this low-cost service. Even though we are a small organization with less than 20 employees, we adopted out 703 animals and performed 788 spays/neuters for the public in 2020!”
Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 5 and nothing says thank you like food. We’re here to help you feed (and appreciate) your team, nationwide.