More than 450 PIMCO employees in Newport Beach spent a portion of their weekend packing thousands of boxes with food to help feed needy families throughout Orange County this holiday season.
The employees gathered early Saturday in a large underground parking lot near their offices and packed nearly 5,000 boxes of holiday meal packages as part of the fourth Annual PIMCO Share the Harvest event. It was the company's largest and most generous to date, raising $143,000 in employee donations to purchase the food and well over the company's goal of $125,000.
"It's such a meaningful event," said Sarah Middleton, the company's vice president of community outreach. "For the people to donate, to volunteer, it's incredible to see our firm come together to help those who are hungry."
Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) is a global investment management and solutions firm located near Fashion Island. Share the Harvest is their largest employee event of the year. This year PIMCO set a milestone by packing 5,000 holiday food boxes - an increase of 3,000 from last year - with more than 9,000 pounds of holiday food.
Bill Thompson, the creator of the event at PIMCO, said he was touched to see so many volunteers in attendance.
"I'm thrilled. A lot of people don't have anything for Christmas. It's really terrible out there," he said. "Orange County is not as well off as people think."
The parking lot was set up in assembly line fashion Saturday, food was organized by type and hundreds of volunteers packed the boxes one by one. Each box featured the classic holiday meal staples and a few new ones - yams, potatoes, carrots, green beans, macaroni and cheese, rice, pinto beans, corn, pudding cups, cranberry sauce and stuffing. There was also a Ralph's gift card in each box.
Mark Lowry, director of the Orange County Food Bank, said donations have been down this year due to the current economic state, while requests for food by churches, soup kitchens and shelters have more than doubled. Lowry said PIMCO's dedication to feeding those in need, through generous employee donations, should be a reminder to other companies.
"This is a really great company with really great leadership, but it is an example of what other companies should be doing," he said.