Two dozen red-shirted Nestlé Purina PetCare employees gathered outside the American Youth Foundation office in St. Louis on a bright Tuesday morning to learn a little more about the AYF and lend a hand as the organization prepares for summer 2023.
Nestlé Purina PetCare is headquartered in St. Louis, and each May, the company hosts Purina Cares Day, an annual day of service during which its nearly 10,000 associates from across the United States take time away from work to volunteer in their communities.
The AYF is a Nestlé Purina community partner, and both organizations share a common founder, William H. Danforth. Many employees are familiar with Danforth’s motivational book, “I Dare You!” and his adage to Stand Tall, Smile Tall, Think Tall, Live Tall, and Create Tall.
That spirit to serve others is the motivation behind Purina Cares Day, and the Purina employees arrived eager to learn more about the AYF and help support kids as they prepared for their first camp experiences.
Director of Development Jessa Glick and Development Coordinator Michael Robinson tasked the Purina team with preparing and packing more than 60 gear kits for campers enrolled in the inaugural Dare to Adventure program at Miniwanca.
“The AYF continues to expand its reach and relevance through programs like Dare to Adventure,” Glick said. “This program will introduce Detroit-area kids who’ve have never had a summer camp experience to outdoor living at Miniwanca. The program is designed to make access to the natural world more equitable for those who otherwise could not afford to attend camp. Making sure youth have adequate gear is vital to making these kids feel safe and welcome at Miniwanca.”
Director of Development Jessa Glick said in addition to helping pack all this gear, Nestlé Purina provided $10,000 to purchase the products. Each duffle contains items like a sleeping bag, a headlamp with batteries, toiletries, shower shoes, a water bottle, and extra layers for cool, wet weather.
Purina employees also took time to write encouraging letters to campers and summer staff, wishing them a fun, safe summer filled with learning and growth.
“Our connection with Nestlé Purina is vital not just because of our shared history, but also our shared community values,” Glick said. “Corporate partnerships like these help the AYF expand access to its programs, sharing the values best self and balanced living with kids and communities across the country. We couldn’t do that without the support of partners like Nestlé Purina.”