Nearly one in five children live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Buffalo Wings & Rings founder and CEO Nader Masadeh learned this the hard way when he encountered a young boy digging in a dumpster behind one of his restaurants. He asked the boy what he was doing, and the boy explained that he was looking for leftover food to give to his hungry sister. Shocked, Masadeh decided he wanted to make a difference.
In July of 2016, the Buffalove Foundation was established as a way for Buffalo Wings & Rings to give back to local communities it serves. The company encourages its staff to get involved with the foundation on its National Day of Service held annually Feb. 19.
“Making a positive impact with a commitment to serving others is a large part of our culture," Lindsey Zahner, Buffalo Wings & Rings Field Marketing Representative, said. "One of the best ways we show that impact is in giving back to those in our community who may need a helping hand. On Feb. 19, we ask the entire company to participate in a National Day of Service on behalf of the Buffalove Foundation."
This year, Buffalo Wings & Rings employees across the country will volunteer their time at food pantries, children’s homes, orphanages, and other organizations on the National Day of Service.
“The whole strategy is to get employees to give back,” Zahner said. “For one day, we try to be completely selfless and not think about anyone else except for the people we are helping.”
Justin Bobin, General Manager of a Buffalo Wings & Rings location in Chicago, Illinois, is organizing a National Day of Service event at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Bobin and his employees will help repack bulk donations into individual and family-sized portions, sort, and categorize food.
“Not only do you feel good about doing something for someone less fortunate, but it’s also amazing to watch your staff have fun, interact, and forget about everything bothering them,” Bobin said. “The goal of the day is to give back, and in that moment, nothing else matters except doing good.”
For Bobin and his employees, giving back continues throughout the year. Along with organizing various fundraising activities for programs such as Special Olympics Chicago, Bobin and his team volunteer at least once every quarter. Currently, they are gearing up to participate in the Polar Plunge in March, and Bobin is taking his wife and two sons to the Greater Chicago Food Depository for a family food repack session the weekend before the National Day of Service.
“As a company, I think it’s important to give back to the community because you are in a unique position to do so,” Bobin said. “We have influence, and we are using that to rally people to do good. Our communities are what connect us, and giving back is something you are obligated to do to show a commitment to the area.”
The Buffalo Wings & Rings corporate team is also participating in the National Day of Service by volunteering at St. Joseph Orphanage Feb. 19. Zahner and 20 other employees will throw a lunch party, play games with the children, and host a cookie decorating activity.
“Many of these kids come from unsafe neighborhoods and home lives with a bleak future,” Zahner said. “Making them feel important and cared for by giving them a special day will be extremely meaningful.”
Because supporting charities is part of the company’s DNA, volunteer work continues throughout the year. On Feb. 20 — one day after the annual service day — 10 employees from the Buffalo Wings & Rings corporate office will volunteer at the Newtown Food Pantry.
“The best part about volunteering is spending time with the people you are helping,” Zahner said. “You meet people from all walks of life, and getting to know them, seeing their smiles, and watching the way they light up is awe-inspiring and truly pulls at the heartstrings.”
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