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FEATURE

Food Sort Event Launches Cisco Harvest of Hope Campaign 2007

October 25, 2007

By Terry Timm Moos, News@Cisco

They arrive in the afternoon. Quickly and methodically, they start their tasks, selecting the best canned goods, perishable produce, poultry, and packaged foods. Are they culinary experts seeking new ingredients? Iron chefs? Secret shoppers?

Well, not exactly. This group just happens to be the Cisco senior leadership team, and today, instead of wearing their technology hats, they will sort food and keep a steady flow of donated items moving through the San Jose food bank facility of Second Harvest of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

It's all part of Cisco's kick-off to the Harvest of Hope Campaign 2007 and the company's annual giving back season. For John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, and the leadership team, the executive food sort event has become a Cisco tradition. The food sort atmosphere is festive and truly supports Cisco's culture of giving back.

For over five years, Cisco executives and employees have participated in the Second Harvest event, which brings them together with volunteers and executives from other organizations, to provide a vital resource for people in need. "Every year, the food sort also brings out our competitive spirit, so it is always a fun event," said Mike Yutrzenka, Director, Public Benefit Investment.

As a private non-profit organization, Second Harvest Food Bank collects and distributes more than 30 million pounds of food each year to low-income children, adults, and seniors. The Holiday Food and Fund Drive is a major activity that helps support important programs. On average, the Food Bank currently serves 163,000 individuals each month; nearly 60% are families with dependent children. The 65,000 square foot warehouse in San Jose serves as Second Harvest's main food distribution center.

"The executive food sort event is a wonderful way for team building, and a great deal of important work gets done," said Chip Huggins, Chief Executive Officer for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. "The commitment Cisco and other companies make to our programs provide benefits to so many people in our community."

The Holiday Food and Fund Drive is a very critical event for Second Harvest. "This brings in a large percentage of our organization's food and operating funds for the entire year, so we are grateful for the enthusiastic participation of Cisco employees and the executive team," said Huggins.

In other parts of the world, Cisco employees are also actively involved in giving back efforts. In India, for example, Cisco is partnering with the Akshaya Patra Foundation, an organization which provides 814,440 meals a day to school children across 14 locations in India. Cisco employees will help serve meals to the children, as well as contribute funds.

Since 1995, donations from Cisco employees, the Cisco Systems Foundation, and the John P. Morgridge matching funds have totaled over $20 million for the Harvest of Hope Campaign. This year, Cisco's goal is to increase the amount of donations worldwide.

Terry Timm Moos is a freelance journalist located in Seattle, WA.

 
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