Last year, Gap Inc. employees around the globe volunteered nearly 450,000 hours to help make their communities better places to live and work. In celebration of Global Volunteer Month, we’re spotlighting a few of the people whose volunteer hours helped us rack up that amazing total — like Sara Weldon, senior global inventory planner at Gap’s HQ office in New York City, who coordinates our longtime partnership with God’s Love We Deliver. We talked with Sara about how giving back helps fuel her work and vice versa.
First, a little background: what’s your job at Gap?
I’m a senior global inventory planner, and I’ve been with Gap for about two and a half years. This isn’t my first job with the company, though — like a lot of other HQ employees, my first job here was working in a Gap store during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. In addition to my job responsibilities, I also volunteer my time as the coordinator for Gap’s deliveries to God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD).
What is GLWD all about?
GLWD was founded in 1986 to improve the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses. They do that by delivering nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illnesses, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. GLWD also provides illness-specific nutrition education and counseling to families, care providers and other service organizations. And they do it all free of charge for anyone who needs their help, regardless of income.
How long have you been volunteering with GLWD?
About two years. It all started with a volunteer shift preparing meals in the GLWD kitchen, which was sponsored by the Planning team. That’s where I found out about the Gap meal delivery teams; the next week I joined the Planning delivery team. We sign up for weekly shifts to deliver meals to patients around the city. As the coordinator, I schedule shifts, act as a liaison with GLWD, keep our volunteers informed and encourage my Gap colleagues to join us in volunteering.
Why is GLWD important to you, and why did you want to take on the leadership role?
GLWD’s mission is important to me for a few reasons. First, nutrition and volunteering are two of my longtime passions. I also have a cousin who has a rare genetic disease called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP, and uses a wheelchair. She inspires me on a daily basis! And I love being able to give back to my community by providing nutritious meals to those in need. The highlight of my week is going on deliveries and getting to know the clients.
I volunteered to take on the coordinator job because I truly love the mission of GLWD and want to support it as much as I can. The importance of giving back has been ingrained in me my whole life thanks to my parents, the rest of my family and my personal experiences. And I love that I can volunteer as part of working at Gap! I think it’s more important than ever for all of us to appreciate what we have and give back to the community.
What’s the most rewarding part of the experience?
Seeing the smiles on the faces of the GLWD clients. I also love the conversations we have — the relationships I have built with the clients makes delivering meals even more special.
Who can volunteer for GLWD?
No special skills needed; that’s the best part! Anyone can be a volunteer.
Interested in joining the Gap Inc. team? Check out our open jobs, and follow us on LinkedIn to learn more about working here.