In 2016 the NETSCOUT Test Optimization Solutions group in Marlton, New Jersey decided that rather than have the company pay for another luncheon to celebrate the end of the year holidays, they’d rather have a potluck and donate the cost of a catered meal for the whole office to a charity of the employees’ choosing, and NETSCOUT Heart of Giving agreed. After an employee survey seeking suggestions, Make-A-Wish New Jersey became the unanimous choice. Employees expressed that they very much wanted to help grant a life-changing wish for a child, and the first Holiday Potluck Luncheon was created. It was also the first year they used their Heart of Giving grant to donate, and they’ve continued the tradition ever since. Employees reported that knowing how life-changing and impactful it is to help make a child’s wish come true, the decision to continue the tradition was easy, and December 9, 2021 marks the fifth year in a row that they’ve obtained a grant to help support Make-A-Wish NJ. Sadly, because of covid, they did not have their luncheon in 2020, but they still donated to Make-A-Wish because the office is that dedicated to this tradition!
The entire office pitches in to make the Holiday Potluck fun too. They decorate; everyone brings a dish–some prepping and cooking right on site – and they all sign and send a thank you letter to Make-A-Wish. Weirdly, ugly sweaters are NOT a feature of this shindig, but principal software quality assurance (think that’s what the title means?) engineer Chuck Kuski’s snazzy holiday blazer has put the rest of the office on notice. Maybe this year or next he’ll have some competition or compatriots? When asked about the event in general, Kuski said that he enjoyed wearing his holiday garments to the office, but that contributing to children in need within the community is what makes this holiday tradition meaningful to him. “I like the food as well.”
Speaking of the food, there IS a bit of competition amongst the cooks as they try to out-do each other, and isn’t that what we all hope for at our potlucks? Memorable dishes from years past include: secret recipe chili, fancy grilled pork, chicken tagine with butternut squash, cheesy potatoes, and even homemade meatballs from an ‘old family recipe.’ The team waits breathlessly and hungrily for each year’s offerings! Eileen Bramley, manager, sales administration noted, “It’s a perfect reason to step away from your desk and celebrate the season! The most fun aspect is discovering who the real chefs are and seeing what specialty dishes they create. We’ve had chicken adobo, baked ziti, roast beef, lasagna, spinach balls and teriyaki chicken to name just a few. And desserts galore – cheesecake, homemade brownies, cookies, pies and even pecan tarts. It’s a culinary extravaganza!” Seems like this NETSCOUT office knows what they’re doing when it comes to lab tests and taste tests. (Too cheesy, dear reader? So sous vide me.)
When caught between his many responsibilities as a senior traffic coordinator and reliable yearly volunteer at these events, Mike Adams said, “What I like most about the potluck it is that we're doing something good for the kids who benefit from Make-A-Wish, and we get to connect and catch up with each other in a fun, relaxed way."
Undoubtedly, they’re looking forward to this fifth year’s spread! Frankly, I’ll bet we all wish we could join them for lunch. Even though we cannot, we can all do similar things to help people in our own communities. Bringing hope, strength and joy to others should be a year-long, everyday endeavor. We’re truly thankful for NETSCOUT’s commitment to making a difference in our communities and allowing us to touch others even in the smallest ways to make a better life for us all.
Happy Holidays, dear readers!