Making a Difference During National Food Bank Week 2016

National Food Bank Week occurs annually during the week that contains October 16, which is World Food Day. World Food Day, first established in 1979, marks the formation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945. While World Food Day aims to bring global progress to food supplies and the impact of climate change, and has a lofty and noble goal of Zero Hunger by 2030, National Food Bank Week focuses more on the immediate need of those around us.

What is a Food Bank?

Tata & Howard holds an annual food drive during the holiday season. In 2015, T&H donated over 400 pounds of food to local food banks.
Tata & Howard holds an annual food drive during the holiday season. In 2015, T&H donated over 400 pounds of food to local food banks.

Food banks are non-profit organizations that collect multiple tons of food every year, which they then distribute to local food pantries and hunger relief charities. Food banks provide for collection and storage of food, but they do not typically distribute directly to those in need. Rather, they distribute to smaller agencies that have direct contact with those in need, but do not themselves have the means or the room for food collection.

Food banks collect food from a variety of sources. Grocery stores and wholesalers donate thousands of pounds of food that would otherwise be thrown away, and smaller organizations provide food and monetary donations through food drives, hunger walks, and other charitable measures. Food banks also accept food donated from individuals and families – the only caveat is that the food must not be expired.

Typically found in larger communities, food banks are almost fully reliant on volunteers and donors to help with day-to-day operations. Location has a huge impact on the functionality of each food bank, as more rural areas require smaller banks that distribute across larger distances, whereas large, urban areas require very large facilities to adequately support the serious need in those areas.

How Do Food Banks Work?

Food banks not only act as collection and distribution centers for food, they also serve as community leaders in assisting the diverse populations of those who are hungry. Food banks interact with elected officials and work towards legislation that supports hunger programs while also examining the contributing factors of poverty and hunger. Food banks then work to create and implement programs for clients, donors, and agencies that best respond to the local need.

There are myriad reasons why an individual is hungry. Job loss, medical crisis, low wages, and divorce are just a few of the reasons why a person or family may find themselves in need. And while the cause of hunger is of primary concern to food banks and how they best operate, answering the need should be the only concern of those of us fortunate enough to not be hungry.

How We Can Help

As part of an ongoing initiative to support a local high school, T&H implemented "Food for Thought" during National Food Bank Week in an effort to provide meals to hungry teens.
As part of an ongoing initiative to support a local high school, T&H implemented “Food for Thought” during National Food Bank Week in an effort to provide meals to hungry teens. Because these teens tend to lack household support, employee-owners are donating easily prepared meals so that needy teens have access to quick meals that they can prepare themselves.

Food banks are always in need of donations and volunteers. During the holiday season, food banks receive more donations than they do during the rest of the year, which allows them to provide for the significant amount of holiday hunger. However, it is important to note that hunger happens year-round, and that food donations are always gladly accepted. Bringing a few bags of healthy, non-perishable food to the local food bank during the spring, summer, and fall months is an easy and affordable way to make a positive impact in the local community.

One of the best ways to make a big impact with minimal effort is to hold a food drive at the office. When a large group of people comes together to donate food, the amount collected adds up quickly. To collect even more food, consider creating groups within the organization and having a contest to see which group brings in the most pounds of food or fills the most boxes. A little friendly competition not only brings in a significantly larger amount of food, but also brings employees together, creating a positive atmosphere of teamwork and philanthropy.

In Conclusion

National Food Bank Week is an excellent time to reflect on the serious amount of hunger around us, and to come together to help provide for those in need. It is also a perfect time to get to know your local food bank, and to find out what types of donations they most need and how to most effectively help. Whether donating food, volunteering time, or providing financial support, food banks welcome any help they are given, particularly as we approach the holiday season. To find a local food bank, please visit

Tata & Howard Donates Over $5,000 to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Company matches employee-owners’ gifts to support cancer research

Tata & Howard employee-owners helped support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Tata & Howard employee-owners helped support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Tata & Howard recently donated $5,300 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, MA. Employee-owners donated $2,650 and the company provided a 100% match.

“As an employee-owned company, we have a targeted focus on philanthropy,” stated Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., Vice President of Tata & Howard. “All employee-owners are encouraged to support, both monetarily and through volunteerism, the organizations that resonate most with us. Not surprisingly, employee-owners overwhelmingly choose to support DFCI, as cancer has had an impact on the lives of nearly every single person at the firm.”

Enhancing the company’s support of DFCI, Tata & Howard Engineer Molly Coughlin is running the 2017 Boston Marathon in an effort to raise funds for Dana-Farber. Her personal goal is $15,850.

“Dana-Farber is recognized as a world-class leader in cancer research and treatment, and we are lucky enough to have this incredible organization right in our backyard,” stated Coughlin. “On a personal level, Dana-Farber has saved the lives of two very important people in my life. I feel as though running the marathon to raise funds to support the Institute is the very least I can do.”

To support DFCI and the life-saving research and treatment options they provide, please visit

About the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is world-renowned for its leadership in adult and pediatric cancer treatment and research. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it is one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of NCI and National Institutes of Health grant funding. For more information, go to

T&H donation helps bring water to Navajo Nation

T&H donation helps bring water to Navajo Nation

Water cistern purchased on behalf of clients

This water cistern, donated by Tata & Howard on behalf of its clients, will help provide safe, clean drinking water to a family living in Navajo Nation
This water cistern, donated by Tata & Howard on behalf of its clients, will help provide safe, clean drinking water to a family living in Navajo Nation

Tata & Howard sponsored a water cistern through Navajo Water Project, a subsidiary of DIGDEEP that works to provide safe, accessible drinking water to Native Americans living in Navajo Nation. The 1,200-gallon cistern provides the necessary water storage for a full running water system in one Navajo American Home. The gift was purchased in honor of Tata & Howard’s clients in lieu of holiday cards.

“The western border of Navajo Nation is only 25 miles from Tata & Howard’s Flagstaff, Arizona office, so it really hit close to home when we learned of the Navajo Nation water crisis,” stated Shira S. McWaters, P.E., Manager of the firm’s Flagstaff office. “We as a company have historically supported and will continue to support Water For People, a charity that works to bring clean and sustainable water to developing nations, through automatic payroll deductions as well as corporate sponsorship of benefit events such as silent auctions and golf tournaments. However, in light of the water poverty facing those living right here on American soil, we decided to also focus our efforts on Navajo Nation this year.”

Tata & Howard and its employee-owners had made a previous donation of $2,235 to Navajo Water Project, which is the only water charity that serves people living in the United States, in September.
“The fact that there are people living right here in the United States who lack access to safe, clean drinking water is deplorable,” added Joel S. Loitherstein, P.E., LSP, Vice President of Tata & Howard. “We are proud to support Navajo Water Project in their efforts to bring a sustainable water supply to all who live in Navajo Nation, and are thrilled to do so in honor of our clients.”

In addition to the donation of the water cistern to Navajo Water Project, Tata & Howard employee-owners donated handpicked gifts to foster children in Massachusetts through DARE Family Services, a non-profit whose primary mission is to find, train, and support loving homes that will help children become resilient and overcome the trauma of serious abuse and neglect, and made monetary donations to the Mayor’s Charity Relief Fund of Marlborough, MA, which helps residents of the city in need of financial assistance at times of crisis or hardship. Tata & Howard’s corporate office is located in Marlborough.