"Voluntourism" at Options Conference

The 31st annual Options Industry Conference was recently held at the Green Valley Ranch in Henderson Nevada. This year also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Options Industry, The CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) and OCC (Option Clearing Corp).With over 15 million contracts traded daily it’s hard to believe that the industry is only 40 years old.

The conference offered panels on everything from restoring confidence in the financial industry to a discussion on fees. See my latest post on discussions held at the conference. But aside from industry topics this year’s conference continued a trend started at last year’s conference, voluntourism. For those who are not aware of voluntourism, it is simply using leisure time as a tourist to do volunteer work. This year’s voluntourism event took place at the Three Square Food Bank in southern Nevada.

Three Square’s mission is to provide wholesome food to hungry people, while passionately pursuing a hunger-free community. Three Square combines food banking (warehousing canned and boxed goods), food rescue (obtaining surplus or unused meats, bread, dairy and produce from hospitality and grocery outlets), andready-to-eat meals to be the most complete food solution for Southern Nevada. In 2012, Three Square distributed more than 24.5 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 18.8 million meals through its Program Partners.

Over 30 Option Industry Conference attendees worked at Three Square filling bags with meals to provide a hungry child with food for the weekend. This work included supplying food to the supply table, filling foods bags, controlling recyclables and filling pallets with the now filling food bags. Here’s how it worked. Pallets of canned food, juices, cereals, and healthy snacks are stacked behind several large tables. Here’s where the suppliers worked, cutting boxes, opening cartons and generally keeping the tables filled the necessary ingredients, non-stop work (I speak from experience, it reminded me of being 16 years old and working in Shop-Rite). The fillers walked from one end of the line to the other placing the required quantity of each item in a bag, I’ll bet they walked a few miles that afternoon.  At the end of the line were the sealers, closing each bag so that nothing fell out. The next step was for a volunteer to fill containers with the filled bags and stack the full containers on a pallet. While all of this was going on, the recyclable man was responsible for handling the hundreds of now empty boxes and keeping them neat and orderly, not an easy task I was told.

It’s often said that the fat cats on Wall Street do not give back to the community. I can tell you that at this event there were no fat cats, just people from all levels of the option industry working together for the good of others. It was a job well done as we filled 1440 bags of food for hungry of southern Nevada.