CSR Tale: Employees Volunteer at Canstruction Nonprofit Event

David Cartalla David Cartalla is currently a Human Resources Director at PR Newswire and is based in its Albuquerque, N.M., office. A 19-year veteran of PRN, he has held other company roles in both the editorial and training functions, and worked in office locations in Washington, New York, and Jersey City, N.J.
About David Cartalla (1 Posts)

The Albuquerque-based employees of PR Newswire have much to be proud of, following their recent participation in a local food donation competition, called Canstruction.

“It’s not just another can drive,” says Josephina Montoya, a PRN senior inside sales representative. “Canstruction lets you be creative, competitive and collect a LOT of food.”

Jordana Gailard is all smiles, as she helps David Cartalla and Ryan Dodder (l to r).

This design/build event, organized locally by engineering firm CH2M Hill, tasks competing groups to use nonperishable food cans to build creative structures.  Collected food was then donated to the Roadrunner Food Bank, a nonprofit food distribution center that feeds hungry populations in New Mexico.

The PR Newswire competing team – which also included members from local companies AUI, Occan Engineering and CH2M Hill – collected 6,839 pounds of food for the benefit event.

Dominick Martinez, Jordana Gailard, Jorge Hernandez and David Cartala.

To top it all off, the team’s structure won the award for “Best Use of Labels”.  It was a three-dimensional baseball field shape, bearing the images of the old Albuquerque Duke baseball mascot, and bat & ball.

Twelve PRN employees were at the event and split into mini-teams to simultaneously build different sections of the structure that was roughly 8 feet tall, with 10-foot “walls”.  All seemed to enjoy the atmosphere but remained focused on the day-long goal.  To add to their teamwork spirit, the employees wore matching “Duke” mascot t-shirts, which they bought with their own money.

While only 12 actually volunteered for the competition, many more employees helped in other ways.  Other employees contributed items to company-hosted bake sales and soup sales, throughout the year, to raise more than $300 for the purchase of the food cans used in the competition.

To add to that total, Montoya secured an arrangement with a local restaurant to allow a percentage of customer sales – via the use of special discount flyers – to be donated to the team’s fundraising.  Meanwhile, PR Newswire Customer Content Specialist Jordi Gailard volunteered on a related committee, via organizer CH2M Hill, to help market and create buzz about Canstruction.

Gailard said she was also able to use the @PRNFood Twitter account, of which she is a curator, to send announcements about the event.  “It was easy for me to put in extra time/effort in various activities for this event because I don’t consider it `work’ as much as being able to contribute to a good cause,” Gailard said.

Jorge Hernandez stands in front of PR Newswire's finished Canstruction build, depicting the old Albuquerque Dukes baseball mascot.

According to PRN Director Allan Muenzler, these types of volunteer efforts create a sense of community within the company and outside of it.  And there are benefits to both the company and the employees when helping out on a nonprofit project like this.

“Being able to tie in the work we do for the community we inhabit, with the sense of community we engender within our company, can only lead to a more satisfied and proactive workforce,” Muenzler said.

Gailard, in fact, serves as the office’s “charitable giving advocate,” in which she coordinates corporate social responsibility activities, while creating brand awareness for the company.  She said her motivation to participate in volunteer work, like the Roadrunner/Canstruction project, is the genuine fulfillment that comes with being part of a greater cause.

“It just plain makes us feel good to help others,” Muenzler said.

The result: A grand total of 34,580 pounds of food were donated to the Roadrunner Food Bank, and at PR Newswire a lot of employees smiled with satisfaction that they participated in something that makes a social difference.

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