I work in the finance department of Teva Pharmaceuticals LTD and one day I happened to be talking with a friend about what my department could do to volunteer as a team. After several suggestions, we decided on a project run by Leket, to make sandwiches every school day, for a local school. As so it was born, The Teva sandwich project.
Once I contacted Leket, the rest was easy. With great support from the office staff and a local school who wanted to benefit from the project it was agreed that 30 sandwiches could be made every school day. I sent an e–mail asking for volunteers from my department ( around 40 people) and received an overwhelming positive response, so much so that it meant each person was only managing to volunteer once every 3weeks. A total of over 5,000 sandwiches were prepared and sent to the school in the first year.
The volunteers were so excited to be involved in the project that, if they could not make their allotted day, they would rearrange between themselves to switch volunteering days. If a volunteer had to miss a day, for whatever reason they are really disappointed.
All the volunteers are really invested in the projects and for the children’s holidays of Chanukah and Purim, a collection is made from the volunteers and we add a little chocolate treat for the children.
We are now in our third year, and whilst the support of Teva, in funding the sandwich project has not wavered, and the volunteers who have been in the project from day one are as enthusiastic today as they were from the first day the project began, there have been a number of changes in the volunteers and the school who receive the sandwiches but the importance that all involved feel , of offering a healthy sandwiches to children who might not have eaten before they left the house in the morning, and who might not have anything to eat all of the school day, has not changed.
Due to the sensitivity of the nature of the volunteering project, and the need not to embarrass a child the volunteers don’t get to see the joy on the faces of the children when they receive the fresh sandwich. In view of this, I think it is even more special that my volunteer team leaves their own families earlier than normal, and travel on earlier buses and trains in order to get to the office on time to prepare their days sandwiches without receiving the pleasure of a smile from the children.
In 2014 the Teva sandwich team received the accolade from the Teva management and Teva social responsibility department of the “volunteer team on the year” for Petah Tikvah offices.
Our hope is that one day we won’t have offer this service to any school child, that all of them with have healthy, filling a fresh food every day, but until that happens the Teva sandwich team hope that the project will continue to go from strength to strength.