Toyota Financial Donations Nixed In Favor Of Personnel

Toyota financial donations to the New York Food Bank are being nixed in favor of personnel.

The Food Bank of New York is a major charity dealing with the eradication of hunger. Several major corporations such as Target and Bank of America have been big donors of funds to the anti-hunger charity, and until this year, so was Toyota.

Toyota employed a different approach this year. Instead of donating money, they donated efficiency. They sent engineers to help serve the food and figure out a way to cut the increasingly long lines.

At a Harlem-based soup kitchen, Toyota financial donations would have solved next to nothing, but as they helped increase the flow of the lines waiting for food, actual wait times decreased by a large amount. A line waiting for service at the Food Bank that would have waited close to an hour and a half ended up only waiting about 20 minutes. Time spent filling bags had been cut almost by half. After the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the packing of a relief box had been cut from 11 minutes down to a mere three.

Toyota, a Japanese automotive company, is a supporter of Kaizen, a word meaning continuous improvement. Food Bank executives had been skeptical of nixing Toyota financial donations in favor of personnel in 2011, saying that Toyota makes cars and has little to do with making or working with food. However, after the implementation of the new idea, Toyota had increased their productivity and, in the words of Margarette Purvis, “revolutionized the way we serve our community.”


After Toyota was faced with the challenge of making the lines shorter, they eliminated the 10 empty seat system, created a waiting area inside where the people could grab a tray, and had one employee whose sole job was to keep a lookout for empty seats. As they say on the internet, “challenge accepted.”

Toyota financial donations had been cut, and the New York Food Bank had become more efficient than ever. There is something to be said for thinking outside the box, and Toyota is proving the point.

What do you think of the cutting of Toyota financial donations in favor of personnel?