At Unity Power Services, we don't just see our role as a provider of electrical services to the businesses and communities of Loudoun County and Northern Virginia. We believe in living our core values of Respect, Safety, and Professionalism both inside and outside of our work. This commitment has led us to support and collaborate with various local nonprofits. We see giving back to the community as a moral duty and part of our mission. As it turns out, it’s also a source of invaluable lessons that improve our team’s unity and the way we serve our customers.
One nonprofit we've had the privilege of working with is Christ In Action. As you’ll see in this interview summary, they approach each crisis scenario with a mind set of "One Piece at a Time".
Whether we are working on a HVAC power board or putting a generator in a barn, Christ In Action's approach to disaster relief – “One Piece at a Time” – has helped UPS look at our customer projects in the same way; following our training and delivering excellence in our work as we begin on large job sites, “One Piece at a Time.”
We are grateful to be a part of the good work they are doing, and suggest you check them out. https://www.facebook.com/ChristInAction
Snippets from our interview with Chris Zitzmann, Christ In Action:
What is Christ In Action all about?
Christ In Action was founded in 1982 as an evangelistic ministry with a focus on training churches on how to discuss their faith and practice it within the community. In the late '90s, the organization expanded its mission to include disaster relief, providing crucial support to those in need during catastrophic events. Our approach started with offering food, emotional support, and spiritual guidance. We now deploy volunteers across the U.S. with a range of capabilities including clearing trees, moving debris, excavating, and even providing hot showers. Our mission is Bringing Hope to America’s Families.
We don't directly engage in rebuilding homes, but we play a vital role in the initial cleanup process, which is essential before any rebuilding can begin. We deploy all the heavy equipment and volunteer teams to residential areas that have been devastated by disasters, large and small.
These are crucial times for the people impacted so we train our volunteers, local pastors and churches on preparedness and crisis intervention, equipping more people to serve. When you’re on a site after a disaster, it can seem overwhelming, even for our volunteers. People ask how do you know where to start. It’s one piece at a time.
We follow up with the families we assist, even six months after the disaster. We aim to build lasting connections with the communities we serve.
Why is it important for businesses to give back to the community?
Businesses have seen the positive effects that volunteering has on their employees. We’ve seen people come alive during volunteering as it’s so different from their day to day. When you’re working directly with people in crisis, seeing what they go through, spending time with them, comforting them, in the middle of it, it changes you. Especially during disaster relief – volunteers are stretched physically and emotionally. This builds character. And it quickly brings unity to the team as they focus outside of themselves and have to lean on one another. We’ve seen this experience quickly build a team from people that don’t even know one another. It creates a unique bond.
Not every company will pay employees to go and volunteer like UPS does, but those that do, have seen a positive result on their people and ultimately their business performance. It’s truly a win/win.
How has the support from community businesses impacted CIA?
The support from community businesses has been instrumental in CIA's mission. For example, a number of local businesses provided volunteer labor that allowed CIA to renovate our entire building, with only one exception. The impact is immeasurable. This support covers a significant portion of our hard costs and allows donations to directly benefit those impacted by disasters. The contributions go toward materials for projects and maintaining vital heavy equipment and vehicles. These donations don't fund salaries or staff overhead, meaning that each dollar makes a substantial impact and reaches more people in need.
Advice for Businesses Looking to Support a Local Nonprofit:
Consider aligning the nonprofit's mission and values with those of the business. Find out what your team is interested in and what they genuinely care about. Building a partnership with a nonprofit that aligns with your culture, mission, and values, like our work with Unity Power Services, makes a big impact, on us, but also your employees, your team’s passion for working together, and your culture.
A Story of CIA In Action:
One of our volunteer teams had the opportunity to provide rapid response to a school after a tragic local accident. After completing a two-day crisis intervention training program, a Friday and a Saturday, they found themselves able to provide immediate support to a community that had just lost a high school student in a car accident that very weekend. Their timing was, in a way, perfect.
We thank Chris for this peek into CIA, and encourage our fellow businesses to go out and serve! To support Christ In Action, visit www.christinaction.com