MORE THAN JUST CRAYONS
By Jenny Bertolette
We all know that children naturally love art and that artistic outlets have the ability to foster creativity and confidence. More significantly, art therapy can enable children to cope with illness, stress and traumatic experiences or enhance cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, when budgets are tight, the arts are usually the first to go.
When Good360 received a large donation of bulk crayons at our sorting facilities in Omaha, we knew we had been given a product in high demand. The problem: not many charities can accept a box of 1,900 crayons of just one color. We had to find a way to package these crayons so that charities could more easily utilize these valuable tools.
Enter YRC Freight, Good360’s less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier that has been helping us deliver Goods for the Greater Good™ for many years. They came to us with the desire to engage their employees in a service project and give back to children’s charities in the greater Kansas City area, where they are headquartered. Together, we devised a plan to sort more than 100,000 crayons and assemble 6,000 kits of assorted colors using YRC Freight employee volunteers during a day of service on Wednesday, July 17th.
Good360 worked with one of our longtime Community Redistribution Partners, the United Way of Greater Kansas City, to connect to local children’s charities in need of such supplies. Good360 has 35 of these nonprofit partners across the country that act as “mini Good360s,” taking in large donations that require warehousing and making manageable quantities available to smaller organizations in their region.
“Art supplies are one of our most frequent product requests as we support many charities with after-school programs, that work with individuals with disabilities or provide counseling or grief support,” said Tiffany Henkel, manager of Gifts In Kind at the United Way of Greater Kansas City. “These crayons can truly enrich the lives of those working on sensory integration and dexterity or who don’t typically have access to artistic outlets otherwise.”
More than 20 Kansas City-area children’s charities came out to YRC Freight Headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to pick up the completed crayon kits including Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, Head Start of Shawnee Mission, Johnson County Christmas Bureau and Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association.
“These crayons are a blessing as we plan for our annual school supply distribution,” said Kim O’Dell of the Midwest Foster Care & Adoption Association. “This program is just one of the ways we support the families who so generously open their homes for fostering or adoption.”
Good360 was able to accomplish our mission of fulfilling the product needs of nonprofits through the support of YRC Freight, a company that truly gets it. Not only did they donate the shipping of 2,300 lbs of bulk crayons and kitting supplies from our warehouse in Omaha and enlist employees to sort and assemble the kits, they added a Good360 trailer to their fleet so that our brand will be seen across America’s highways and byways for years to come. They also understand that employees want to work for companies that give back to the community and that provide opportunities for employees to contribute as well.
“These service projects are great morale boosters for everyone,” said Brenda Thomas, president of YRC Freight’s Employees Club. “YRC employees love giving back to the local community and working for a company that’s not just about doing business.”
Our relationship with YRC Freight is just one inspiring example of how Good360 can work with companies that don’t manufacture or distribute products to give back to their communities and engage employees. To learn about these opportunities and more, contact Good360’s philanthropy engineer Kelly McSween at Kelly@good360.org.