McKee Foods/Arkansas named their cross-functional team dealing with partner violence in the workplace "Project Ruth". The team was chartered to create an atmosphere of encouragement and support for victims of domestic violence. This is done through awareness, education, and development of company procedures that reflect McKee Foods' Guiding Values. The name "Project Ruth" was selected to honor a company employee who became a fatal statistic of domestic violence in 1991.
At the Gentry, Arkansas plant, employees may contact a supervisor, superintendent, personnel associate, or Project Ruth team member to receive help at work. Help has included letting the employee park close to the employee entrance, having police present in the parking lot at the end of the shift change, arranging for someone from the women's shelter to counsel the employee on the job, and asking police to escort a victim to a shelter before shift change to make it safer for the victim to leave the situation.
McKee is very proactive during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some of their events, activities and practices in October have included:
- Placing an ad in a local newspaper expressing the company's support of National Work to End Domestic Violence Day. The ad included both the National Domestic Violence Hotline number and a local shelter's number as well as information about the upcoming Domestic Violence Clothesline Project display in the Little Debbie brand Company Store.
- Distributing CAEPV educational brochures, script and instructions to supervisors for use in their employee safety meetings during the month of October. During their meetings, supervisors showed the Family Violence Prevention Fund's PSA for Domestic Violence Prevention, distributed educational brochures and shared information about the resources available within the company and the community for assisting victims. The educational brochure and resource information become a standard part of McKee's new employee orientation.
- Affixing CAEPV's "Some people are cut out for each other . . ." payroll stuffer to employee payslips.
- Kicking off a service project for the local shelter (Benton County Women's Shelter). Employees were asked to donate needed items, such as cleaning & laundry supplies, hairbrushes, toothbrushes & toothpaste, towels, sheets, pajamas, nonperishable food items, children's games & puzzles, and children's movies.
- Display of the local Domestic Violence Clothesline Project in McKee's main hallway. Members of McKee's domestic violence awareness team, Project Ruth, were on hand to explain the project and offer educational information and resource information to employees. The Clothesline Project was displayed for an entire 24-hour period in the plant, moved to the Company Store, then moved to the local high school along with an educational booth, which highlighted dating violence. Members of Project Ruth were on hand to answer questions and provide resources to students.
- Placing an article about partner violence in the Conveyer, a monthly publication for all employees and retirees of McKee Foods.