Chris Kinback, an assistant vice president in claims at Colonial Life, has worked for the company for about three-and-a-half years.
Here, in a Q&A with WorkLife, he shares how he supports the United Way of the Midlands through one of its partner agencies, Harvest Hope Food Bank:
WorkLife: What United Way Partner Agency are you involved with and why?
Kinback: I have volunteered at Harvest Hope Food Bank several times. Shortly after I moved to the area, a group from Colonial Life asked if I wanted to join them. I was so impressed with Harvest Hope’s operation that I’ve been back several times. I grew up in a big family with an Italian grandmother, so good food was at the center of my upbringing. It remains one of the great joys in my life because I love eating good food with friends and family. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to not have that experience because you’re struggling to put food on the table.
WorkLife: What have you experienced by working with a UW partner agency that has inspired you?
Kinback: Volunteering at Harvest Hope has shown me how much need there is in the Midlands. It’s been an extremely humbling experience. The first time I volunteered, I broke down giant vats of Cheerios into smaller serving bags. We filled hundreds of bags and a dozen or so large pallets. I remember feeling good that I had a hand in providing what I thought to be year’s worth of cereal to those who needed it. I was stunned when the Harvest Hope staffer said everything we put together would all be distributed to families in our area by the end of the day. It made me wonder how they could ever keep up with the demand. It really brought home the importance of volunteering your time and energy, even if the impact seems minimal. It definitely inspired me to try to do more.
WorkLife: How does United Way provide assistance to this partner agency?
Kinback: United Way supports partner agencies, like Harvest Hope Food Bank, in a number of ways. For example, a local company challenged the United Way’s Tocqueville Society contributors to increase their donations by matching the donations up to $50,000. They responded and gave $100,000 to fund a hunger relief program. That donation helped Harvest Hope fill backpacks with nutritious foods for elementary and middle school students who qualified for free or reduced lunches to eat on weekends. In addition, the United Way’s Volunteer Center provides partner agencies with volunteers year-round.
WorkLife: What does Colonial Life’s support of United Way mean to you?
Kinback: It certainly generates a sense of pride. I have the privilege of serving as the Campus Champion for the Colonial Life Campaign this year and see firsthand how highly respected Colonial Life is in the community. United Way, their partner agencies and other businesses have all told me Colonial Life is a corporate leader in the community and a company they aspire to be more like. Our support is not only necessary – it’s admired and appreciated.
WorkLife: Why should companies and employees support the United Way and partner agencies?
Kinback: If you have the resources, physical or financial, then you can help someone in need. The need is enormous and widespread and United Way and its partner agencies are uniquely positioned to have a far-reaching impact. I say find something you’re emotionally connected with or passionate about and get involved. The rewards you will receive will far outweigh the investment of your energy, time and resources.