Each month, we highlight one of the moving companies in our network for their extraordinary commitment to fighting hunger in their community. We are excited to announce that Clemmer Moving & Storage of Telford, PA is our Mover of the Month for February 2017!
Clemmer Moving & Storage has been an amazing partner since joining the program just over two years ago, but last month was undoubtedly the high point of their Move For Hunger career. In addition to collecting food from their clients during the relocation process, Clemmer Moving & Storage also volunteered to assist with the food drive that Fidelity Residential Solutions was hosting in nearby Doylestown, PA. Because of their efforts, Clemmer Moving was able to deliver nearly 450 pounds of food -- enough to provide more than 360 meals -- to the Keystone Opportunity Center.
Clemmer Moving and Storage has now donated 1,400 pounds of food -- more than 1,150 meals -- since January of 2015.
"We all feel like it’s a really great cause," said Paula Sadler, Clemmer Moving & Storage's General Manager. "We all know people who, perhaps, would have a need to go to a food pantry. Anything that we could do for our community – we were all very excited to do it.”
It's not just her staff that's been inspired by the Move For Hunger model, either. According to Sadler, Clemmer Moving & Storage's customers have been eager to do their part.
“The customers think it’s fantastic - they are always very interested in donating," she said. "The nice thing for them is, they feel like they are actually giving directly to the cause. It’s not like they’re just donating a dollar at the grocery store. Some of the customers will even go out and get more food!"
Because Clemmer Moving & Storage is frequently making deliveries to the Keystone Opportunity Center, they've built relationships with the staff there and learned about some of the other ways the food pantry is supporting the community. Sadler says that Clemmer Moving & Storage also promotes those initiatives as a way for her customers to continue fighting hunger after the move.
"Our food pantry is really awesome and we’re sharing all of the great things that they are doing," she said. "We do local moves, too, and we are able to share the information about what the food pantry is doing within the community. It becomes an even bigger outreach than just our guys going in there and collecting the canned goods.”
Keystone Opportunity Center's Fresh Produce Basket Program, in particular, has been popular among Clemmer Moving's customers and staff, alike. The program is similar to America's Grow-a-Row, in which home gardeners are encouraged to share their harvest with their neighbors in need.
“Every summer we all grow our cucumbers, our tomatoes, and we share our anecdotes about our garden," Sadler said. "We’re all going to bring in our vegetables, collect them, and bring them to the food pantry this summer. It’s a nice thing for us to do to increase morale within the office.”
Food banks and pantries are almost always in need of fresh produce. In 2014, Feeding America reported that someone with diabetes was living in 1/3 of the 15.5 million households they serve. Fifty-five percent of people identify fresh fruits and vegetables as the foods they most desire, but aren't receiving from their food pantry. Some food banks are even refusing to accept donations of "junk food" altogether.
"Donations of fresh produce are so important, " said Cindy Dembrosky, the Food Pantry Coordinator at Keystone Opportunity Center. "So much of what we receive comes in cans."
Food insecurity in Bucks County and Montgomery County has been on the decline, but there are still nearly 140,000 people in the area who are facing hunger each and every day.
“We were hit with a pretty significant unemployment problem in our area and were going through some challenging times locally," Sadler said.
Indeed, in February of 2010, the unemployment rate in Bucks (8.5%) and Montgomery (7.6%) was the highest it has been in 25 years.
“People fell on hard times recently," Sadler said. "They unemployment rate skyrocketed and we’re rebounding and recovering from that."
As of December 2016, the unemployment rate declined to half of what it was at its high point. Still, hunger and food insecurity plague the community. Keystone Opportunity Center serves around 225 families every month, and Dembrosky noted that she's been seeing a rise in the number of older folks visiting the pantry.
"We've been seeing a lot more seniors, people who are living on fixed incomes," she said.
Dembrosky also expects to see the need for donations increase, as they always do, during the summer months. Families with children who receive free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch at school rely on those meals. When the school year ends, they often turn to food pantries to help make ends meet.
"Right around August, our shelves start to get pretty thin," Dembrosky said.
The good news, however, is that the summer also happens to be the busiest time of year for the moving industry. Sadler believes they will have plenty of opportunities to make a difference in the months ahead.
"We're definitely hoping to bring in a lot food this summer," she said.
Dembrosky said they always look forward to a delivery from Clemmer Moving & Storage's Crew.
"They are always friendly, always great to work with. Plus, most of our volunteers are seniors, so it's nice to have someone who can carry in those heavy boxes for us!"
Along with the award, Clemmer Moving & Storage will also be receiving a Move For Hunger hand truck, courtesy of Victory Packaging, lunch for their entire staff, compliments of Montway Auto Transport, and Move For Hunger truck decals for their entire fleet.
Congratulations to Clemmer Moving & Storage on this much-deserved recognition. Thank you for commitment to reducing food waste and fighting hunger in the Keystone State.
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