When Hurricane Sandy tore across the eastern US coast in late October it left thousands of families cold, hungry and homeless in its wake. The tragic events of that day crippled transportation, shutdown businesses and changed countless lives forever. As families begin to rebuild and businesses to restore operations, Rich’s did what any family would do, reach out a helping hand. From collecting much-needed supplies and donating food, to aiding customers as they strive to get their shop doors open again, Rich’s was prepared to support its downstate neighbors through any means possible.
Buffalo, NY: Rich’s Hosts Donation Drive, Collects 2 Truckloads of Goods & Donates $100,000 in Food
In the storm’s aftermath, Rich’s organized a donation drive at the company’s headquarters in Buffalo, New York, encouraging associates and community members to bring anything they could give to help victims of the tragic hurricane. To kick-start the event, Rich’s donated $100,000 worth of food products to offer much-needed nourishment to the families of the ravaged Long Island communities. To ensure the donations got to New York safely and efficiently, Rich’s subsidiary, ROAR Logistics Ltd., offered to transport the goods.
“Many of us have family and friends in these affected areas, and several of our customers’ businesses have also been impacted,” said Howard Rich, Vice President of Corporate Relations, Rich Products. “Rich’s is proud to offer some relief to our downstate neighbors, and it’s no surprise that our associates and the Western New York community have dug-deep to do the same.”
Rich’s partnered with the State of New York’s local office to coordinate the event and identify an agency on the east coast to distribute the donations to families in need. The group ultimately partnered with Long Island Cares Inc., the areas first food bank founded in 1980 and the region’s most comprehensive hunger action organization.
Judy Miranda and Heather Stammler, Rich’s associates, were just two of the 95 volunteers who took one-hour shifts collecting and sorting the donations on November 14, 2012.
“We’re Buffalo, we’re known for bad weather, but we’ve never experienced such devastation,” said Miranda, a member of Rich’s Legal team. “We just had to come out here and help in some way.”
And help they did. Every car that arrived was swarmed with volunteers who quickly unloaded and categorized the donations. Car after car, Western New Yorkers arrived in droves donating toiletries, cleaning products, baby supplies, non-perishable items, pet food and even a wheelbarrow.
The McCarthy family from Depew, owners of Little Rumpkins diaper service, arrived with piles of cloth diapers, baby food, sheets and cleaning supplies. Mom and dad watched proudly as their two young daughters donated some of their own toys for the children of Long Island.
Many Rich’s associates came to work that morning with armfuls of goods. Shannon Smoot, a customer service representative at Rich’s, brought a hamper heaping with pet food, cleaning supplies and toiletries.
“I’m here in the spirit of giving,” said Smoot. “Many people have helped me in the past year, it’s only right that I do what I can for someone else. It feels incredibly good.”
“We’re a family company and this is what we do for family, whether we know them directly or not,” said Maureen Hurley, Rich’s Executive Leadership Team member and New Jersey native. “We pulled this together quickly in response to the immediate need in the area. We’ve also been working closely with our customers who have experienced numerous challenges over the past few weeks.”
During the food drive, Rich’s Campus Foodservice Group hosted a lunchtime pasta bar in the cafeteria raising $1,500 to support hurricane relief efforts. The spirit of giving was infectious as 50/50 draw winner, Rich’s associate, Patrick O’Reilly, donated his entire winnings to the American Red Cross.
To keep the donation drive alive, Buffalo’s own 103.3 The Edge filled the airways with information, supporting the event all day. The radio’s popular morning show hosts, “Shred and Ragan,” broadcasted live at 6 a.m. from Rich’s campus on Niagara Street.
After 12 hours of collection, the generous people of Western New York had donated enough food and supplies to fill two-and-a-half trucks. That evening, those trucks and another one containing Rich’s food donation set-off for Long Island.
“Rich’s always rises to the occasion, and our response to Hurricane Sandy was no different,” said Howard Rich. “Whether we are supporting our customers as they rebuild their businesses or lending a hand to families in need, we will always do what’s right. It is, quite simply, just what the Rich family does.”
New York, NY: Rich’s Dispatches Associates to Aid in Customers’ Supermarket Clean-up Efforts
In the days following Sandy, it was evident that the storm had catastrophic effects on many families, but the toll businesses took was also brutal. The storm impacted six states, cutting power from approximately 364 supermarkets. Without power, there could be no operations and food quickly began to spoil. Most stores needed manpower to get their operations under control and begin the arduous task of preparing to open again. But the employees of those stores were often dealing with mountains of work at their homes, or they were unable to get into work due to mass transit shutdowns and gas shortages.
To aid in the clean-up efforts, Rich’s Direct Store Delivery and Sales teams sent associates from as far as Arizona, Florida, and Georgia into the impacted areas. These teams helped to clean stores and re-stock shelves once power was restored. The Logistics department and shuttle services were in daily communication with the Rich’s DSD team to alter and change delivery schedules according to storm conditions.
The Rich’s teams stayed in cold hotel rooms with no power or hot water. To keep the clean-up operation in motion, the team battled extreme gas shortages therefore resorting to transporting fuel in five gallon containers from as far as one-hundred-and-fifty miles away.
“I am proud to say the commitment to success displayed from Rich’s team was unwavering,” said Kent Hittinger, Senior Director of Operational Sales, Celebration Foods, a division of Rich Products. “The work we did to support our customers as they lived and worked through such extraordinary circumstances was an opportunity to make good on our commitment to care for customers like only a family can.”