If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the need for empathy is greater than ever. Since January is Poverty in America Awareness Month and Gate 39 Media is running a month-long campaign to support the Greater Chicago Food Depository, we wanted to take a moment to talk with some of our agency team members about how they exercise empathy.
How do you exercise empathy in your household?
Jalyssa Woodall, Digital Marketing Specialist: Even though I live alone, I still exercise empathy towards the other tenants in my apartment building. I try and do simple things like picking up any loose trash that’s fallen out of the dumpster, keeping the noise levels down when I have guests over, and putting air fresheners in our hallway. These things are super simple, but we’re ultimately sharing a space, so I try to consider everyone’s feelings and do my part.
Eduardo Nunez, DevOps Specialist: Understanding and respecting the needs and personal and physical boundaries of all members of the household. Also, providing a safe space for each member to communicate these needs and boundaries. Working collaboratively and sharing responsibilities in such a way that all members are involved in the decisions and activities. Finally, and most importantly, working each day to increase awareness of how our personal behavior affects others.
Feiying Hu, Support Specialist: During the pandemic, we stay home as much as possible, which makes it easy to feel isolated by practicing social distancing and quarantining. But staying connected helps us build empathy, like chatting with friends/families, exchanging the gifts during the holidays, etc… It all helps us to stay connected to the people in our life and help relieve the feeling of isolation.
Zach Mau, Production Support: Even though we are practicing social distancing and staying home/quarantining I have tried to focus on all the ways in which we are all still very much socially connected to others instead of focusing on the feelings of self-isolation. Whether it’s taking the time to support a friend, helping those who have been affected by the pandemic by donating to a charity, or just generally showing concern and staying connected to the people in your life – it all goes a long way towards fighting those feelings of isolation.
Where do you see room for improvement when it comes to empathizing with one another?
Carolyn Beatty, Client Services Coordinator: I think every single one of us has a greater responsibility to exhibit empathy and kindness to each other every single day. We can and should do more of the small things like just acknowledging each other’s presence with a smile or saying hi, helping someone struggling to carry their groceries down the street, or wearing a mask to keep others safe from the spread of COVID-19.
Nick Landsberger, Lead Designer: I think generationally we need to empathize with one another. We need to be better for our future and with how technology is rapidly progressing, the world changes along with it. The world our parents lived in was much different than the world we live in, and the world we leave our children will be different as well. We need to empathize with ourselves, those who came before, and those who are to come and think about how we can help them in the here and now. And we need to look at how issues that exist today came from mistakes of the past and how today and now is the best way to change things for the future. Overall, we need to empathize with one another and work together, do the small things, learn from our mistakes, and think about the future and the bigger picture. Because while that time can seem far away, sometimes it can be our last chance or opportunity as a society to do anything.
Keller Hawthorne, VP Marketing Technology: We’re living in an extremely divisive time where many are yelling and not enough are listening. I’ve learned people are more complex than we tend to give them credit for being. Though someone may have an extreme difference of opinion from myself, I try to remember that they have a reason for thinking that way. They have their unique past experiences that have shaped them into who they are today. Differences in opinions isn’t our problem… the ability to tolerate those differences is. A person’s value and worth cannot be summed up in a 140-character tweet. We must start listening and stop judging, remembering that one stance, vote, or opinion never represents all a person has to offer to this world. Let’s stop looking for the “evil” in the world and start acknowledging all the good within each of us!
What are your takeaways from participating in last year’s Greater Chicago Food Depository food drive?
Shane Stiles, President: The futures industry has traditionally supported the GCFD through it’s Great Steak Out night as part of FIA Chicago. I’ve personally always donated to the food drives at Union Station and Gate 39 Media in years past has donated food directly as well. Hunger is a tangible and very real problem that one can directly contribute to assisting in.
John Martello, Senior Developer: A food drive is great way to give back to our community. In the past I have volunteered time and donated food, but that is not always possible. Online donations are a great way to fill in the gap.
Sarah McNabb, Chief Marketing Officer: It feels good to do good and I’d like to re-ignite that rush of oxytocin once again in helping our Chicago neighbors in need. Especially this year when the need is so pronounced by the pandemic. GCFD does a great job of stretching donor dollars, so I not only know it is the right thing to do in giving, but that the giving will go further through this terrific organization.
We encourage you to join us in exercising extra empathy this month by donating to the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD).
Every donation will help bring food, dignity, and hope to our neighbors across Chicago and Cook County. The money raised through our virtual food drive provides fresh food for our neighbors at risk of hunger. Thanks to the Food Depository’s buying power, every $1 can provide 3 meals. Your support makes an immediate impact to take hunger off the table!
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