As the automotive industry faced unprecedented supply shortages causing a slowdown in production, Toyota employees used their time to give back to their communities.

Non-production days at an automotive plant usually mean employees take a step back — but that wasn’t the case for the employees at Toyota’s U.S. plants.

During recent downtime due to part shortages, employees at manufacturing plants across the United States, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi (TMMMS), made the decision to use their time to help out in their communities.

They packed boxes for local food banks, organized duffel bags for foster kids, and even built one lucky family a home.

In Georgetown, Kentucky, employees spent a non-production day putting together boxes for God’s Pantry Food Bank, servicing many counties across Central Kentucky. In total, they packaged 4,000 boxes, which was enough food to feed more than 2,000 Kentucky families.

“I think it’s important to give back to your community,” production team member Maeondus Green says. “A lot of our families, our neighbors, are struggling with food insecurity. It’s Americans in general. So, I think it’s important to give back when we can.”

Packing Love — A team member at Toyota Mississippi helps put together sweet cases for foster kids in need.

TMMK President Susan Elkington says this was the third activity for employees to participate in during downtime, including putting together emergency kits and bags for kids in need.

“Toyota has a strong commitment to our community, so anytime we have an interruption to our operations, one of the things we always look at is, ‘how can we give back?’” she says. “This is a part of what Toyota is. It’s the heart of our company.”

In Mississippi, employees supported six non-profit organizations during a week-long production pause.

More than 650 employees helped with various projects at the Blue Springs plant, including:

  • Walking 230 miles for Toyota’s national American Heart Walk Challenge
  • Packing 500 sweet cases and 400 duffel bags for teens in need with the program Together We Rise
  • Packing 50 backpacks for El Centro
  • Building a home for Habitat for Humanity
  • Donating 117 pints of blood
  • Filling 500 bags with hygiene items for Wear It Well

Aaron Foster, general manager of Human Resources at Toyota Mississippi, says providing employees job security while helping the community was a win-win.

Building A Home — Employees at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi work together during non-production days to build a home with Habitat for Humanity.

“We knew offering employees the chance to give back while getting paid during recent downtime was the right thing to do for them and our nonprofit partners,” Foster says.

Toyota believes that automotive companies can also be vehicles for change. That’s why Toyota remains focused on giving back to the communities in which they operate.

You can find more information on Toyota’s U.S. manufacturing plants, here.

Originally published November 30, 2021

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