“This is a charity that is very close to my heart,” says Porcel. “It’s not just about learning how to use your device. There’s a huge social aspect as well. Most of these elderly people are very isolated. Before COVID-19, there were weekly face-to-face events, but now we have phone calls instead, and when they tell you, ‘This is the only phone call I’m going to get today,’ you can feel how much it means to them.”
Since 2015, Apple’s Giving program in Cork has supported more than 400 registered charities in Ireland. For every hour a Cork employee volunteers, Apple matches their time with a monetary donation to the same charity. So far in 2020, a staggering 43 percent of all Cork employees have participated in volunteering activities.
Apple employees have been volunteering weekly at Terence MacSwiney School in Cork for the past five years, helping to teach students coding, music, photography, and video. That has continued during the pandemic, with volunteers mentoring students through virtual sessions. Principal Phil O’Flynn has seen what the partnership has done for both her students and for Cork over time.
“Apple brought an awful lot of hope to the whole Cork community,” says O’Flynn, whose school is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. “And I think that culture of hope has been sustained throughout the four decades that it’s been here.”