Santander fills backpacks with food for underprivileged kids


The holidays are special times for most. Family members gather to exchange presents, share a meal and enjoy their time together. But for some, the family meal isn’t as easy to come by. Tough economic times or tough luck can leave a family in need.

That’s where organizations like the Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) come in. On average, the TAFB distributes food to more than 40,000 households each month in the Tarrant County area. This year, the Santander Consumer USA sales staff assisted in filling backpacks with food to help feed local children who are at high risk of hunger. It was a project that struck a chord with members of the sales team.

“I was especially happy to hear that this year we were working with the local food bank,” said Christine Eastwood, Senior Area Sales Manager for Santander.

“It’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone has a warm meal to go home to and it was nice to be reminded that even the smallest contribution can make the biggest difference.”

Each year during the National Sales Meeting in Dallas, Santander works on a community project with a local charity. This year’s project was called the “Backpack for Kids” program. It’s used at schools where 80 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch programs. The backpacks are given to students who will take the food home over the weekend to feed themselves and any other school-age siblings. While the National Sales Meeting is geared toward strengthening the sales team, the annual community project provides a few lessons of its own.

“It was a privilege to work with the Tarrant Area Food Bank while I was in Dallas this November,” says Senior Area Sales Manager, Jessica Rivera. “The work they do is very inspiring. It has prompted me to look for local chapter and volunteer my time in New York.”

As part of the project, the TAFB brought in pallets of different kinds of kid-friendly foods. The sales force was split into different teams and asked to sort and package the items. After several hours of bundling, nearly 2,000 backpacks were stuffed and will  be distributed to children in more than 30  Tarrant area schools.  The backpacks will feed children for the next several months.  For the sales team, it’s the experience of doing something for others that will have a more lasting effect.

“Bringing the Santander Consumer USA sales team together from across the country to work in unison for a great cause was an amazing display of teamwork and an experience that I will never forget,” says Senior Area Sales Manager Ty Cothren.

To learn more about the Tarrant Area Food Bank, visit http://www.tafb.org/.

By: LaQuenda Jackson