(WMC-TV) - Small businesses in the Mid-South are making a big difference in the community by paying their employees to volunteer.
Many businesses are doing more work with less people, but despite that, one Memphis business owner is paying her employees to volunteer their time.
Employees at Muddy's Bake Shop are busy frosting and serving up fine desserts, but when they are not in the bakery, they are giving back to the community.
It is a new program coordinated by in-house community builder Sarah Newcombe who, in between helping out around the bakery and serving customers, also coordinates a volunteer experience for all full-time employees.
"We didn't want it to be, not that I'm bashing this, but like huge corporate thing where we go and volunteer and then we're gone for another year," said Newcombe.
So, for 90 minutes each week, employees get to volunteer on clock. A trend that is growing in Memphis says Volunteer Odyssey founder Dr. Sarah Petschonek.
"In the past what you've seen is large group volunteer projects, which is a great way to expose your employees to volunteering, but what we've found it that actually connecting employees one-on-one with the right organization, to help them use their time, is one of the effective ways to increase employee volunteerism," said Petschonek.
Petschonek performs volunteer match assessments for small businesses, who cannot devote a staff member to coordinate.
She says Muddy's is setting an example that both hope will add a new ingredient to business life.
"I want it to be a consistent, constant relationship where you actually get to know the organization and the people," said Newcombe.
Muddy's partners with three nonprofits in Memphis, MIFA's Meals on Wheels program, Street Ministries, and Grow Memphis.