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W.Va. business leaders learn how to integrate volunteer work with operations

October 07, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Businesses are increasingly realizing there is more to their existence than making money.

They are blending volunteer work into their operations, understanding that it is good to be seen by the public as community-minded, according to a statewide organization pushing more volunteer work.

Not only is it good for the image, but when every part of a community thrives, such as government, private and nonprofit sectors, it becomes a better place to work, live and do business, according to the West Virginia Business Volunteer Council.

More than 100 local business leaders and others gathered at Charles Town Races & Slots on Monday to hear how some companies, like the Quad/Graphics printing plant in Berkeley County, W.Va., are making community service a bigger part of their operations.

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Bill Klingelsmith, recruiter for the local printing plant, talked about how his company became familiar with Berkeley Community Pride, a beautification and environmental awareness group.

Then Quad/Graphics got to thinking more.

The company has all sorts of equipment, like paper shredders, balers and trucks.

How about a community recycling program?

Every month, the company accepts paper products like books, magazines and newspapers, Klingelsmith said. Then the company shreds the material and trucks it off to be sold, Klinglesmith said.

All the money Quad/Graphics makes from the material is donated to Berkeley Community Pride, Klingelsmith said.

"Together, we can do more than individually apart," said Klingelsmith, borrowing a quote from Harry Quadracci, the founder of Quad/Graphics. "Many hands lighten the load."

Charles Town Races & Slots has been increasing its volunteer efforts. One is an annual food drive in which different departments at the track try to donate the most food to Jefferson County Community Ministries, a local organization that helps needy people with shelter, winter heat, clothing and food assistance, said Al Britton, the track's general manager.

One of the drives resulted in 13 tons of food being gathered for the organization, Britton said.

"There's so many areas we can be involved. It's not just how we can give. It's how we can build," said West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin, the event's keynote speaker, who has been involved in some of the state's volunteer efforts.

On the Web

Businesses interested in blending volunteer programs into their operations can learn more at www.volunteerwv.org.

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