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Former Member

It's hard to resist Jackie Montesinos Suarez's infectious enthusiasm. In a conference room at the Hilton hotel in Orlando, the head of Corporate Social Responsibility for North America is tirelessly welcoming guests to the first service event ever held at SAPPHIRE NOW. Pallets with sacks filled with rice, soya meal, chicken bouillon and other essential ingredients for meals for orphans are stacked against the wall. Groups of volunteers are weighing, mixing, sealing and packing small bags of food - enough to feed 400 - 500 needy children in Sierra Leone for a year.

"I didn't realize we'd be making that big of an impact," says Jackie, looking around her at the activity in the room. "We're going to be impacting the lives of orphans for a year - homeless kids and orphans. Kids have been eating dirt, they're so hungry," says the mother of a small boy.

Proud that SAP executives and mentors have volunteered to pack food for orphans, Jackie attributes the success of the event to "great people and our champion, Mike Trovalli," head of event strategy for SAPPHIRE NOW.

"What we're saying is, outside of the three days of business meetings and demos, this is a great way to build customer relationships. It speaks a lot for where we are as a company that so many people have come out today to volunteer," Jackie says. "People are so excited to be here," she continues. "We're getting great feed back. One colleague said, 'this is the best thing I've done all year!'"

Jackie Montesinos Suarez, head of CSR North America (left) and Erin Gillard, head of communications for Canada (right) packing food for orphans with other volunteers at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando.

Read the story for more background about the event.