Authored by Shelby Grebbin
How ALAN’s in-kind donors help us work with non-profits to help children and families during the most difficult of times.
In the wake of disaster, non-profits that support families and children are often tasked with the unimaginable – figuring out a way to meet a dramatic increase in demand in a matter of days to meet their community’s increased need for food, housing, and resources.
Team members at Filling in the Blanks tackled this challenge head-on. The Connecticut-based non-profit, which normally provides children with food on the weekends, completely revamped its warehouse to accommodate a 30% increase in demand for meals when school meal programs shut down during the pandemic.
To make it all happen, the organization needed an electric pallet jack to improve its warehouse throughput. With the help of board member Tim Osmulski, ALAN found Abel Womack, which was able to generously donate the Raymond ® 8210 pallet that helped the non-profit deliver its millionth meal in 2020.
“Feeding hungry kids is our business, which requires large amounts of warehouse inventory,” Filling in the Blanks said on Twitter. “We move dozens of pallets at the warehouse daily, it’s a lot of work, but thanks to Abel Womack, Inc., and their generous donation of an electric pallet jack, we will now be able to go much faster, #gamechanger!”
This story is proof positive of the fact that ALAN will help non-profits with any kind of need or catastrophe, not just those that involve hurricanes, floods or fires – as the residents of Flint know from their own recent experience.
When more than 100,000 residents of this Michigan community had no access to clean drinking water due to dangerous contamination of the Flint River in 2016, California-based Niagara Bottling offered to donate roughly 30,780 cases of water (28 semi-trailers) to Feed the Children.
ALAN worked with transportation providers UPS, ODW Logistics, People’s Distribution, Wright Distribution/Logan Express, and Spartan Logistics to help deliver that water, which provided half of those residents with the hydration they needed for 10 days – enough time to get clean water filters delivered and installed.
“While many non-profits stepped up with critical donations of water and filters, the one thing they didn’t have was the ability to get either one of those things delivered – until ALAN and the logistics community stepped up,” said ALAN Executive Director Kathy Fulton.
But ALAN’s work hasn’t “just” been about assisting with the storage and distribution of staples like food and water. It’s also helped non-profits attend to kids’ emotional needs, many of which can be heightened in the aftermath of disasters.
For example, after Hurricane Harvey in 2018, Save the Children was looking for a place to stage materials for some of its “Safe Space Kits.” The kits, which include activities, toys, and materials to make designated spaces for play, help to make evacuation shelters more kid-friendly by creating some structure amidst the chaos of disaster recovery.
With the help of the Warehouse Education and Research Council, ALAN found Burkhart Dental Supply, which was able to clear out 5,000 square feet in its Dallas warehouse to help with emergency distribution of these kits and other supplies.
“Disasters tend to disrupt kids’ and families’ lives on a variety of levels,” said Fulton. “We’re thankful to work hand-in-hand with a wide variety of humanitarian organizations that really get that – and that want to do everything in their power to ensure the youngest of disaster survivors receive all of the physical and emotional support they need.”
During 2020 and 2021, that meant filling requests such as:
- Getting 14,000 pounds of laundry detergent to Joshua’s Heart in Florida with the help of the American Trucking Associations and Mack Trucks
- Assisting with the transport of 24,892 pounds of food items, beverages, shampoo and laundry detergent to Feed the Children in Tennessee (also with the help of the American Trucking Associations and Mack Trucks)
- Finding a refrigerated trailer unit from Carolina Tank Lines that enabled Falls Church Anglican Church in Virginia to distribute 1,148 refrigerated trailer units of food and hygiene materials to families in need
- And arranging for the donated transport of 13,836 units of baby food to the Denver-area Salvation Army thanks to a donation from Terminal Corporation, CEVA Logistics and Acme Distribution.
“Maybe it’s because most of us who work at ALAN are parents ourselves – or because we all remember what it was like to be a kid,” said Fulton. “Either way, youth-related causes clearly hold a special place in our hearts. Thankfully they also hold a special place in our in-kind donors’ hearts, which is why we’ve been able to do so much good work over the years.”
Thank you to all of our donors who help children and families recover from difficult times!