“Because I know you’re dying to ask, the color
is Napalm Orange.”
Tom Wofford is referring to his hair’s current neon hue, a nod to the official color of hunger awareness, which he sprays on each year in honor of his team’s annual Hunger Action Month volunteer visit.
It’s the fifth year that he’s spent a September afternoon at the food bank sorting and packing food with staff members from SAIC’s Internal Audit division, a tradition that Wofford feels pays dividends long after the last box has been packed.
“Bringing the team here is an opportunity to help really build camaraderie and another bond that lasts for the year ahead and beyond,” he says. “It’s one more positive way to build relationships. I think it’s really important for leaders to volunteer side by side with other team members, and we’re fortunate that SAIC believes that too and provides a lot of opportunities to do it.”
Wofford’s involvement with hunger relief extends much farther back than his time leading the company’s volunteerism with the Capital Area Food Bank.
“When my wife and I were raising our kids,” Wofford said, “we were involved in coaching some of their sports teams. And when you get involved in coaching kids you start to understand that, even in a relatively affluent area, some of them aren’t getting enough to eat. You know from their performance and their energy.”
That knowledge prompted the couple to get the whole family involved in volunteering at the North Texas food bank. “It was important for us to show that anyone who was willing and able could make a difference for those less fortunate,” he said.
(Those trips volunteering made an impression: his daughter’s first job, following a stint volunteering with AmeriCorps after college, was with that same food bank.)
His children are grown now, but as Wofford has travelled extensively for work – in the last few years he’s been to approximately 70 countries and racked up 4 million airline miles – he’s continued to see hunger as a critical issue to tackle, especially in a country and in a region with great overall prosperity. “Knowing how developed we are, and yet to see that we have food insecurity and hunger exist right here – it’s crazy,” he says.
Which is why Wofford will continue to raise awareness about hunger by bringing teams to the food bank (and sporting his now-signature orange hair for the occasion).
“Coming (to the CAFB),” said Wofford, “especially when someone hasn’t been before, helps them see how much people give, and also how much work it takes to make sure that people get the food they need.”
Tom Wofford (second from right) and SAIC receiving a Corporate Volunteerism award in April