(B)room For Kindness
When an offer of 150 pallets’ worth of free cleaning and personal hygiene supplies crossed its path, Good360 didn’t have the space to accept them — or the heart to turn them down when they were so needed by those impacted by disasters. Here’s all the “dirt” about how ALAN and The Shippers Group made it possible for the humanitarian organization to say yes to this hugely useful donation, and how those supplies have been helping survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Maria make a clean start since.
In an ideal world, hurricane supplies would arrive at non-profits’ doorsteps exactly when needed and in the right quantities. In the real world, that’s rarely how it happens, especially if those supplies are being donated.
Such was the case in October 2017, when Good360, a humanitarian organization and global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving, received a now-or-never offer of over 150 pallets of wet vacs, diapers, crowbars, brooms, hygiene kits, industrial cleaners and PPE safety equipment. Good360 knew that such items were essential to storm-ravaged areas’ clean-up efforts. However it was also aware that no one organization could use such a high volume at once, and that it would need a few months to distribute these goods in order to get them to those who needed them most. Even so, it also knew that asking the donor to hold onto them over the next few months wasn’t an option.
“Our typical donor is eager to get goods transferred to someone as soon as possible, which means if we don’t act quickly, we may miss the chance to have whatever’s being offered – and to help people with those items later down the line,” said the organization’s Tiffany Everett.
So Good360 did what any smart non-profit would do: It said yes to the donation and set about mobilizing its partner network to accommodate the goods.
“We’d previously worked with ALAN on a number of other humanitarian projects. As a result, we knew that ALAN had a strong network of warehousing partners who were willing to donate DC space and services when needs arose, and we felt optimistic that it could assist us,” said Everett.
That’s where The Shippers Group comes in.
A longtime ALAN friend, the company had recently added a 540,000-square-foot warehouse in Atlanta. And because the facility was so new, it still had enough extra room to accommodate all of the donated supplies.
“We had space and they had a need, so when ALAN contacted us and asked if we could help, it was perfect timing,” said Shippers Group President Rob Doyle.
As a result, that operation took receipt of the goods, generously agreeing to store and manage them until Good360 was able to deploy them.
Since then, the facility’s employees have been periodically staging and shipping the supplies out to hurricane-ravaged areas like Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida as those areas’ rebuilding efforts have begun.
“It hasn’t taken a great deal of our time or capacity,” said Doyle. “But we’re told it has been making a huge difference to those communities as they’ve started to rebuild. And that has been hugely gratifying for all of us who work here.”
Said Everett: “Having space in that Atlanta warehouse has been a real game-changer. Clean-up supplies are often the unsung heroes of the disaster recovery world. And in this case, warehousing space was the pivotal missing link in terms of our being able to receive and have such a large supply of items on hand. We’re hugely thankful to ALAN and The Shippers Group for their roles in making so many clean-up efforts possible.”
Today, most donated supplies are long gone, as is most of The Shippers’ Group facility’s available Atlanta space. But that doesn’t mean the story of Shippers Group’s philanthropic efforts and relationship with ALAN is done.
“Without organizations like ALAN and Good360, we’d all be in a world of hurt,” said Doyle. “We are happy to be someone ALAN feels like it can turn to when it has a logistics need, and truly glad to do our part anytime it’s possible.”