Meeting community needs is the order of the day for The Timberland Company, embarking on its 8th annual global “Serv-a-palooza,” a worldwide community service initiative on Thursday, September 22nd. From Zhuhai, China to Boston, Massachusetts, Timberland employees, business and community partners will join forces to create lasting change in local communities. In total, 170 Serv-a-palooza projects will engage 6,500 volunteers to generate 45,000 hours of service, creating positive impact in communities worldwide.

“Everyday, it seems, there is a new crisis, a new disaster, a new injustice in our communities – it's easy to feel helpless in the face of that, ” said Jeffrey Swartz, President and CEO of Timberland. “What Serv-a-palooza symbolizes is the power of people and service to make a real, tangible difference in the adversity we're faced with. It's an opportunity for us to unite for a common cause, share our strengths and celebrate our ability to make our world better.”

In the United States, Serv-a-palooza projects are taking place in more than 100 communities coast-to-coast. Globally, volunteers will be sharing their strength to better communities in 27 countries, from Austria to Turkey. Service projects include:

  • Repairing playground equipment, painting classrooms and brightening the environment for the 500 students who attend San-Jiao elementary school in Zhuhai, China
  • Rebuilding a home destroyed by a hurricane in Isabela, Puerto Rico
  • Painting a barn and building livestock sheds at an educational organic farm in Bedford, New Hampshire
  • Creating play and dining areas at a foster care facility in Madrid, Spain
  • Restoring the natural habitat and rural beauty of a wildlife reserve in London, England
  • Clearing alleys and creating community gardens in Lawrence, Massachusetts

Planning for this annual day of service begins months in advance, as project coordinators meet with local community partners – schools, parks, camps, community centers and social service organizations – assessing the greatest community needs, and identifying opportunities for volunteer service. Serv-a-palooza projects address a variety of community concerns, including education, youth recreation, environmental sustainability and social services.

Although the lead time necessary to plan Serv-a-palooza projects is long, Timberland recognizes the need to adjust for unplanned emergencies and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina — when the call for assistance is immediate and critical. In support of those impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, approximately 20 Timberland employees are participating in a special three-week service sabbatical in the Gulf Coast, coordinated by the American Red Cross.

Like all of Timberland's community service initiatives, Serv-a-palooza projects are designed to be sustainable in order to meet community needs long-term. Project sites are often perennial, offering volunteers a chance to build upon the positive impact that has been started in past years, and creating an opportunity for long-term relationships between Timberland, its partners and the local community.