“Partners in Time,” the employee volunteer program of Federated Department Stores, Inc., is active in Federated’s 450 stores and has been in existence for 14 years.
Partners’ nationwide initiative, Bag Hunger, begun in 1998, collects food and provides service for hunger relief beneficiaries. Last year, Federated donated 1.5 million pounds of food throughout the country. Each division also gives time – delivering, sorting, packing, cooking or serving. Macy’s West was honored by America’s Second Harvet as sponsor of the year for its leadership against hunger.
Federated is involved in a Mentoring USA partnership with Bloomingdale’s, spearheaded by Chairman Michael Gould, with 67 mentors this year vs. 42 last year. From 100 “pen friends” in the northwest to “Power Lunch” reading with New York students, volunteers are exceedingly committed to making a difference for children. Federated met and expanded its America’s Promise commitment – the Earning for Learning “dollars for doers” initiative – in which volunteers are encouraged to give service through grants for schools. Last year alone, 466 participants gave 7,000 hours and earned $126,000 for local schools.
Partners is open to family and friends, not just employees. It is estimated that 1/3 of Federated’s total employee base of 113,000 is active in Partners’ time-giving projects. However, many more participate in collection efforts – such as the Bag Hunger food drive. Several divisions have programs such as Bloomingdale’s, where trainees create projects and volunteer as a class for efforts such as Ronald McDonald House variety show skits or city park clean-ups.
Nearly all divisions support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer or the Komen Race for the Cure with major sponsoring and hundreds of volunteers as project organizers, walkers or water station staffers. Further support is given through bag stuffers and in-store pick up of race registrations. In Florida, support was so great – managers flew in from outlying regions to participate – that Komen is now the sole recipient for that division’s holiday “Thanks for Sharing” customer fundraising/marketing drive.