As the COVID-19 pandemic put additional pressure on our communities, Schnitzer stepped up to provide additional support. For example, forced school closures put millions of children at risk to lose the daily meals that they and their families depend on. Our donations to five food banks in communities where we operate helped fill this gap. We also held blood drives as part of the “SleevesUp” campaign, with donors providing much-needed units of blood to support medical personnel in their critical life-saving efforts.
We approach community engagement from a regional perspective, tailoring our efforts to local needs and priorities throughout the more than 100 communities in which we operate. An important part of this engagement involves working with local leaders and chambers of commerce to educate our communities about Schnitzer’s sustainable role as a recycler and share our perspective on business issues. We also support local non-profit organizations through board service, charitable giving, and volunteerism. Employees across Schnitzer are key contributors to this important effort.
Our paid volunteer time off (VTO) benefits program officially launched in fiscal 2020, and by 2025, we expect our employees to have contributed at least 10,000 hours giving back to their communities through this program.
We donated more than 2,500 N95 respirator masks to local hospital and emergency services. We also were able to secure an additional 2,000 surgical masks that were deployed to various healthcare facilities in the northeastern United States.
As a proud steward of our planet’s natural resources, Schnitzer has long celebrated Earth Day with a day of service in our communities. We typically organize park cleanups and recycling collection events at our sites across the country. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak required us to cancel all April 2020 in-person events related to Earth Day. Instead, we marked the day—which happened to be Earth Day’s 50th anniversary—by sharing with employees a list of ways they can live more sustainably at home.
Fortunately, by summer, Schnitzer employees were able to engage in some safe, socially distanced events. For instance, seven Schnitzer employees masked up and helped pick up litter during the “Pick Up and Pitch In” event at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the Northeast, we also have provided financial support to the Mystic River Watershed Association between fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2020.
When natural disasters strike, employees across the Schnitzer family come together to help colleagues near and far. Our charitable foundation, known as Recycling for a Better Tomorrow, helps employees and their families recover from disasters that occur in areas where we operate. When an event occurs, we notify employees by email, on our internal website, and through flyers posted in our facilities. Employees may make donations to the foundation, which the Company matches. In fiscal 2020, the foundation provided relief to employees affected by the series of earthquakes that struck Puerto Rico in the winter of 2019 and those impacted by the wildfires that occurred in California, Oregon, and Washington in the summer of 2020.