How the Ignite Giveback Challenge Transforms Communities One Act of Kindness at a Time

February 18, 2024

Give Back Challenge
In the heart of Ignite Foodservice Solutions lies a culture deeply rooted in community service, exemplified through the innovative Ignite Giveback Challenge. Launched by President & CEO Carl Kisner in December 2022, this initiative empowers each employee with $500 from the company to impact a cause or organization close to their heart. Ignite team members have embraced this challenge — contributing to their communities in unique and meaningful ways. have spearheaded for the Giveback Challenge,” said CEO Carl Kisner. “Through these diverse acts of kindness, it’s evident that when individuals come together for a cause, the ripple effects of their actions can spread hope and happiness in the communities we serve. I can’t wait to see what else we do in 2024!”

Chef Luke Simonds: Culinary Empowerment for Youth

Chef Luke Simonds, Ignite’s Corporate Chef in Denver, took the Giveback Challenge as an opportunity to blend his culinary expertise with his passion for empowering kids to get creative in the kitchen. Partnering with the Urban Leadership Foundation, he organized a remarkable event focused on culinary arts for children involved in the foundation’s leadership program. This day not only provided these young individuals with a unique learning experience but also empowered them to take charge and execute a community event, a requirement for their graduation. Chef Luke’s dedication to using his skills for the betterment of an underserved community resulted in an action-packed and fun day in the kitchen for everyone.

Chef Luke Simonds: Culinary Empowerment for Youth
Blankets for the Children’s Hospital Colorado

Daina Canavan & Customer Excellence Team: Blankets for the Children’s Hospital Colorado 

Understanding the comforting power of a warm blanket, Daina Canavan, Director of Operations, and members of Ignite’s Customer Excellence Team embarked on a meaningful project for children and families experiencing trauma. The group procured blanket kits from local fabric stores and dedicated time to cutting and assembling them with care. The stacks of cozy blankets were delivered to the Children’s Hospital Colorado, aiming to provide a touch of comfort to those in need. This project was made possible through the collective efforts of our compassionate participants: Daina Canavan, Andrea Lascola, Andrew Martinez, and Kelsey Skye, whose generosity and hard work made a significant difference in the lives of many.

Don Riedthaler: Feeding Hungry Children in His Community

In the Northwest, the stark reality of childhood hunger sparked a collective effort led by Don Riedthaler, Director of Sales. With the initial goal of preparing 100 meals for St. Leo’s Parish Food Connection, the overwhelming support from local business partners, enabled the team to amplify their impact by preparing over 300 meals. This project was a collaborative effort, with special recognition to Chef Ryan Devereaux, Ignite’s Corporate Chef in the PNW region, who donated two days of his time to help prepare these special meals. This story of community engagement and generosity illustrates how collective efforts can significantly magnify the impact of individual contributions. Next year’s goal is 500 meals!

Feeding Hungry Children in His Community
In Memory of Russell Shupe: Comforting Children with Teddy Bears

In Memory of Russell Shupe: Comforting Children with Teddy Bears

Russell Shupe, a Territory Manager in New Mexico and El Paso, and a retired law enforcement officer, was the first to step up to the challenge. Drawing from his rich experience, Russell conceptualized the idea of distributing customized teddy bears to children involved in distressing situations like accidents or house fires. Collaborating with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and Barran’s Bears Inc., he managed to create 144 “Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Bears.” These bears are not just toys; they are symbols of comfort and safety to children in their most vulnerable moments. Sadly, Russell passed away in the fall of 2023. He was a remarkable individual whose spirit will forever resonate at Ignite Foodservice Solutions and in the hearts of all who had the pleasure of working alongside him.

At Ignite, we believe in the power of a fun-loving spirit, a team-oriented approach, and giving back. It’s part of our core values. If you know of an organization where Ignite can make a difference, let us know!  

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