Scooping rice at the food bank
Charitable Giving

Hundreds of employees to give back during inaugural Volunteer Week

Susan Simpson

In a nationwide show of community support, hundreds of Williams employees will give their energy to complete more than 160 projects across 18 states as part of the company’s inaugural Volunteer Week, April 22-29.

“Strong community involvement is at the heart of Williams, driven by our core value to be responsible stewards,” said Alan Armstrong, Williams president and chief executive officer. “By harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of our employees, we’re exemplifying our values by lending a hand to the nonprofits that work hard every day to improve our communities.”

Williams Volunteer Week builds on the company’s long tradition of being a good neighbor through employee volunteerism and financial support. Projects range from outdoor beautification to volunteering in elementary school classrooms to helping at food banks.

In Houston, employees will revitalize a community garden in an underserved area.

Employee Jerry Fabian is on the board of directors for nonprofit Urban Harvest, which has a mission to increase access to fresh and local food. The Happy Place Garden serves a low-income population.

“This area is classified as a food desert, meaning many residents live away from a supermarket or grocery store with healthy food options. The goal is to revitalize this garden so that the neighborhood can once again plant and harvest nutritious foods from the allotted beds, plus also have a safe space for the neighbors to gather and build social cohesion.”

Williams employees got a jump start on our inaugural Volunteer Week by helping out at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

Fabian, a supervisor of project controls, said employee volunteerism is not just a duty, but a privilege.

“While we are supporting the areas where we work, live, and play, we are also helping to create a sustainable and safe community for everyone. Obviously, volunteering has a positive impact on the communities, but it also creates a positive and lasting feeling of achievement.”

Chad Dlugoszewski, a coordinator of maintenance in the Charlottesville Division in North Carolina, said it feels good to help a local nonprofit needing volunteers with skills in repair and construction.

At the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, North Carolina, employees will repair roofs, sand and paint walls, assemble pantry shelving and prune trees.

“The center rarely has volunteers with the skills required for upkeep and repairs to their 85-year-old building,” Dlugoszewski said. “Partnering with Williams for the volunteer project will allow them to make repairs that have been needed for years.”

In western Georgia, employees plan to document thousands of gravestones at a nearby cemetery.

The project, in coordination with Billion Graves, will add to an online database of gravestones that can then be located by longitude and latitude, said project coordinator Tina Kitchens, a senior field office administrator.

“There is a huge need to record all gravestones so that relatives and descendants can search for their loved ones. Some of the gravestones date back decades and are too dirty to read so we will carefully and respectfully wash them and load the images to the Billion Graves app.”

Kitchens said Williams’ support of volunteer efforts is meaningful to both employees and those in need.

“It makes us feel good to do something for others,” she said. “I hope if I was in need, there would be caring people out there to help.”