​Dan O’Keefe is a Senior Managing Director in Protiviti’s Chicago office. He leads Protiviti’s i on Hunger initiative, in which we have committed to delivering one million meals to hungry people around the world through 2015.  Below, he reflects on the origin of this important endeavor.

i on Hunger is making headlines, this week especially.

As we reach and surpass our 500,000-meal milestone, there’s no question that this global initiative is having an impact – on the people whose lives we touch and on the fabric of our own Protiviti community.

So at this special milestone – more than halfway to our goal – I’d like to take the opportunity to reflect on the reasons we began this endeavor in the first place and to celebrate the progress we’ve made toward those goals.

Touching Lives Worldwide

We headed into the i on Hunger initiative with the intention of living our values by delivering hope to the people who need it most. i on Hunger was set up to have a worldwide reach, to address a global problem on a goal-worthy scale.

Still, it was difficult to grasp the variety of lives one million meals could touch until the letters and photos began to pour in.

Today in different areas of the world, children who need access to good food for proper development are eating nutritional meals packed by Protiviti and building hope for better living. We know that proper nutrition underpins everything in a child’s life – education in particular. So giving a child in Haiti, for example, one more day of nutritional security can be worth much more than some carefully packed rice, veggies, and vitamins might seem.

We have also reached families still devastated by the tsunami in Japan, farmers impacted by severe drought in Australia, special education students in need in China, and families across America, and other countries we work in, who rely on food banks for their daily needs.  All of these communities and more are benefitting from Protiviti living its values and giving back to our communities.

Boosting Awareness

As with anything, the first order of business in the i on Hunger initiative was raising awareness about the problem itself.

As such, we spent time disseminating statistics about the devastating effects of hunger, educated each other on the realities of living at the poverty line, and began – each in our own way – to wrap our minds around the cause we’ve committed ourselves to.  For my part, it also caused me to reflect  on my personal connections to nutrition – the summers I spent on my grandfather’s farm and the gratitude I feel, as one of 15 siblings, for not ever going hungry.  (And of course, I just love food).

Creating Memories Together

In the months since our formal kick-off, over one thousand  of our people have stepped up to participate during on-site food drives, off-site soup kitchen events, and at meal-packing events during meetings, trainings, and beyond. Hundreds of our clients have joined us in these efforts.  What a great way to build relationships that last!

We hoped that in addressing a global problem based on a universal need – and in bringing our people physically together in order to do it – we could achieve a sense of unity around our worthy goal.  Through our collective efforts, we are halfway there!  Here’s to keeping the momentum going through the next 500,000 meals.

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