The Ride for Food community is full of hundreds of passionate, hard working advocates for food access and hunger relief in the Greater Boston and Worcester region. We are excited to share their stories and experiences with you in our series of Rider Profiles. In these blog posts our riders will share why they are riding, their most precious experiences with food and food relief efforts along with their training practices leading up to the ride on the 25th.
For our first Rider Profile, we asked a few questions to Joe Walsh, CEO of Direct Federal who is currently leading the rider standings with his early fundraising efforts. Joe is a long time friend of Three Squares New England, this year will be his 3rd year as a participant. We’re lucky to have him along for the ride!
What is the philosophy at Direct Federal? Why do you give so much to support hunger-relief?
When I became CEO of Direct Federal two years ago, I knew that we did an excellent job for our members, but we needed to do more purposeful work in our community. In speaking with the associates at our credit union as to what causes we should invest in, the common theme that ran through the responses was “basic human needs.” Our belief is that a person’s fundamental need for food, shelter, and healthcare must be met before they can effectively pursue any other goals or aspirations. No one should worry about where their next meal is coming from, whether they’ll have a warm, safe place to spend the night, or how they’ll get treatment if they become sick. It was this concern for basic human needs that brought us to Three Squares New England.
How has your commitment to TSNE impacted the moral of the company?
Our support for Three Squares New England has had a positive impact on the moral at Direct Federal. When people get out of their daily routine at the office and have a chance to interact in a volunteer effort with their colleagues, and in many cases their colleagues’ family members, it breaks down the organizational hierarchy. It allows us to see one another in a more human light. It also enables us to keep things in perspective when we return to the office. Those little annoyances that seemed so important aren’t nearly as consequential anymore. When we work together on an event like the Ride for Food it really reinvigorates the team. Our involvement with the Ride has inspired our employees to look inside their own community, find ways to help their local non-profits and feel pride at the work they’ve done. This feeling of accomplishment outside the walls of the credit union increases camaraderie and teamwork, which translates to better service for our members.
Anything else you want to add?
I realize that I have enjoyed a life filled with many blessings, and my fair share of good luck. And you know the old adage, “To those to whom much has been given, much is expected.” I think we are all well served by assuming that no matter how much we think we’ve given back, there is still at least a little more we can do.