Making Change with Change

Making Change with Change

The impact that Rich Products Corporation makes around the world doesn’t stop with its wide-ranging variety of top-notch, on-trend food products favored by customers and consumers alike; no, that’s just the beginning.

A worldwide leader in the food industry, the family owned company also has a “rich” history – 65 years plus – of bettering its communities. Members of Rich’s global workforce of more than 8,000 associates take this commitment to heart and reach beyond their own homes and offices to identify those in need and come up with solutions to help them.

One fall Sunday in 2011, after rooting on his hometown Denver Broncos, Dave Packer, the Mountain West Distribution Sales Manager for Rich’s US Foodservice Division, was struck by a profile he watched on the CBS-TV program “60 Minutes.”

The segment exposed widespread homelessness in Central Florida, particularly among military veterans and families with young children. While viewing the story of one such family, which included a 15-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, Packer was stunned by the exceptional sense of maturity and responsibility exhibited by the two siblings.

Inspired to make a difference, Packer researched the epidemic of homelessness closer to where he lives and discovered the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH).

The coalition was founded in 1984 by a group of individuals who recognized the struggles of working people living in destitution and had the will to take action on their behalf. Nearly 30 years later, the coalition is still dealing with many of the same underlying social causes of homelessness, like poverty, shortages of affordable housing, and unattainable healthcare.

Making Change with Change

Each year, the coalition serves approximately 16,000 homeless individuals throughout Colorado. Twenty-five percent are children and more than 3 percent are ex-military personnel.

Packer partnered with Jen Schwem, the CCH Manager of Resource Development and Marketing, and Jennifer Forman, the CCH Director of Resource Development and Marketing, to explore a way for Rich’s to aid the coalition’s integrated housing, healthcare and supportive service programs.

The objectives of the final plan eventually designed by Packer and Kelley Wood, Customer Marketing Manager: use a portion of Rich’s sales in key product categories to help CCH assist the needy in Colorado communities where Rich’s operates – and beyond – while growing sales in those same categories, which would boost the coalition’s coffers even further.

With the support of their colleagues and Rich’s Foodservice Division, Packer and Wood, earlier this year launched “Making Change with Change.” For every case of key Rich’s products sold from March 1 through Dec. 31, 2012, the company is pledging 25 cents to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

In addition to Rich’s monetary donation, the partnership with CCH will entail vocational foodservice training, led by two of Rich’s talented culinarians, for coalition clients.

“‘Making Change with Change’ is a remarkable way for Rich’s associates to tangibly express our corporate philosophy of thinking globally while acting locally,” said Dinsh Guzdar, Vice President, Rich’s Foodservice Division.

The program’s progress to date has been impressive, with one key product category up in sales by as much as 15 percent (over the same quarter in 2011). Tom Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Food Brokers, a key broker in the Mountain West region, was inspired by Rich’s passion for the cause and agreed to match up to 10 percent of the company’s total cash contribution to CCH. Meanwhile, two businesses were so motivated by the charitable undertaking that they became Rich’s customers, purchasing the company’s products for the very first time.

“The dedication by Rich Products Corporation is furthering our coalition efforts in many ways and we are so appreciative,” said Schwem. “The monetary donations will support our initiatives to address the major causes of homelessness. And the vocational training will provide individuals with the tools needed to help secure a job.”