Korellis employees band together to make a difference – volunteer for new causes every month

Korellis employees band together to make a difference – volunteer for new causes every month

In over 60 years of business, Korellis has installed millions of square feet in roofing and been a part of countless construction projects that have helped shape the landscape of the Region and beyond. Yet, their service to the community stretches beyond their trade, as their team members are committed to finding ways to give back to the community that’s made their business a Northwest Indiana success story.

Korellis is a 100 % employee-owned company, and group of team members called the ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) Communications Committee are in large part responsible for shaping the office culture. This year, the ESOP committee decided that they wanted to find new ways for Korellis to give back to the community. They’ve always made donations, given grants, and sponsored projects – but what the team really wanted to do was get out there themselves.

“It was important for us to start being hands-on and volunteering,” said Meredith Moran-Pruim, Safety Coordinator and ESOP Communications Committee chair for Korellis. “We wanted to feel like we were making a difference ourselves, versus just writing a check.”

The committee brainstormed, and decided to move forward with planning at least one major charitable/volunteer outing a month for Korellis employees to participate in. Each month would focus on a different need or organization. They started out by helping Phil’s Friends, a nonprofit that distributes care packages and “Cards of Hope,” which are hand-written and colored letters of encouragement, to those battling cancer.

“It’s such a nice, supportive mission,” Moran-Pruim said. “It hit a little close to home with us, as one of our co-workers was diagnosed with cancer in November. That was our main motivator to start with Phil’s friends, to honor her. We made Cards of Hope and blankets for their care packages.”

In February, they coordinated a food drive for Greater Hammond Services’ Food Pantry. Next month, through the Chicago Roofers Contractors Association, they volunteered for Feed My Starving Children, hand packing meals that would be shipped to countries all around the world. Hunger is global issue, with Feed My Starving Children noting at least 6,200 children die each day from causes related to malnutrition. At the event, nearly 15,000 meals were packed – enough to feed 39 kids for a year.

“Everybody that volunteers loves it,” Moran-Pruim said. “They just want to do more. It’s been great, it’s not something where we need to poke people to participate. I just shoot out an email asking if anyone wants to volunteer and I get a flood back saying ‘yes, yes, yes!’”  The senior management team is getting involved. It’s a team effort.”

Korellis also worked to feed local families – partnering with Franciscan Health to volunteer at their Mobile Markets. Using food provided by the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, the team has been in the community to offer families free grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein. Seeing the families at the Mobile Market left a deep impression on the Korellis employees.

“You don’t realize how many people are in need, and how far things can go for some families until you’re out there on the ground,” she said. “It really opens your eyes to what people actually go through.  You just wish that you could do even more for them.”

Other events Korellis participated in included Red Nose Day, which is a fundraising campaign to end child poverty, Relay for Life, which supports the American Cancer Society, and the Dr. Branco Bowl, which raised funds for the Dr. John Lanman Clinic to provide healthcare for those unable to afford health insurance.

“Just to be able to give back to the community is amazing,” Moran Pruim said. “We want people to know that we’re here for them, to help them. We’ve got lots of ideas in store, things like blood drives, volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, or running a St. Baldrick’s event.”

To learn more about Korellis, visit them at korellis.com.