It’s becoming a post-Thanksgiving tradition for Melanie Sinclair, a validation engineer at Texas Instruments.

December 16, 2015

For the past three years on #GivingTuesday, she’s joined hundreds of co-workers to deliver meals to hungry and homebound seniors in North Texas.

“If one hour of my time is all I need to give up to give people hope, I feel like it’s an hour well spent,” said Sinclair.

All those volunteer hours add up to a big savings for United Way service providers – VNA Meals on Wheels in Dallas and Meals on Wheels of Collin County. For #GivingTuesday 2015, nearly 500 TI employees delivered more than 1,200 meals directly to the doorsteps of seniors who need them.

This year’s route took Sinclair to the home of John and Amy Lavender. At first glance, Sinclair said, you may not suspect the couple could suffer from hunger.

“The guy came out and seemed to be in good health,” said Sinclair. She later learned he was battling five different illnesses and his wife’s health was in even worse condition.

“She takes like 40-50 pills a day,” said Sinclair, who called the experience eye opening. “It could be the guy next door who is hungry, and I wouldn’t know.”

Texas has the 7th highest rate of hunger among seniors in the nation. With the help of United Way, VNA Meals on Wheels is able to deliver nutritious, freshly prepared meals each weekday to 4,000 Dallas County residents. Volunteer efforts from Tuesday’s event saved VNA Meals on Wheels enough money to feed the Lavenders for a year and a half.

Sinclair is thankful to work for a company committed to giving back to the community. “TI has done a really great job of offering different opportunities at different places,” she said. “You don’t have to do it all. I do appreciate that they have all these opportunities to give back because it gives us, the employees, more chances to do what we want to do.”

#GivingTuesday’s Meals on Wheels event represents the single largest volunteer opportunity of the year at TI, according to Chief Citizenship Officer Trisha Cunningham. Many other options are also available throughout the year.

“At TI, we really believe it takes investment plus involvement to make a difference. One of the things we really want to do is we want our employees to see the need so they can make a change,” said Cunningham. “Whenever our employees go and they volunteer and…they deliver that meal to that person, there is nothing that can replace that moment for them to know they truly are making a difference in someone else’s lives.”

#GivingTuesday’s event is a part of the Unite for Change Community Impact Series. TI is a presenting sponsor of the series, which consists of area wide volunteer events focused on improving financial stability, education and health across North Texas. Unite for Change, announced in October, was created to engage many local corporate partners in meaningful volunteer projects over a six-project series. The projects will help reach United Way’s 10-year community goals: preparing at least 60 percent of all kids to graduate ready to succeed, moving 250,000 people out of poverty permanently, and improving health across the region.