While driving in Birmingham, Alabama, the founder of Cheeriodicals, Gary Parisher, saw a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK moving truck driving by with its motto plastered on the side: “Movers Who Care.” He had been looking for a way to get “big green boxes of cheer” made up of age-appropriate magazines, activity books, room decorations, puzzles, stickers and games to children in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He called the number and explained his predicament. To his surprise, he was told the company would deliver the boxes free of charge. Seven years later, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK locations across the U.S. and Canada have made more than 200 deliveries of over 50,000 boxes to children’s hospitals.
Lauren Trost, a marketer with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK in Chicago and Des Plaines, Illinois, has been a major supporter of the project over the years. She first learned of the initiative when a sister franchise in St. Louis delivered a truckload of cheer.
“I immediately realized how great the concept is. The boxes are created through a meaningful corporate team building event, and then we have the honor of delivering them to the hospital,” Trost said. “It is amazing to be part of the drop-off. We get to go to the hospital and have the ability to deliver these boxes to children and see their faces light up. It is truly incredible.”
Not only is one of the brand’s mottos “Movers Who Care,” but one of the company’s values is to give back to the community.
“We love to partner up and work with organizations that have the same goal to give back,” Trost added. “I think our partnership with Cheeriodicals is so amazing because we actually get to see how excited the kids are to receive gifts and toys that are totally unexpected and a pleasant surprise. It feels good to help make a child’s day.”
Trost and the Chicago-area movers and drivers have delivered a couple thousand boxes over the past four years and continue to look for ways to make the children’s day memorable. In the past, the team has even brought TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s mascot, Truckie, to make the event even more fun for the children.
“It’s honestly such an honor to be a part of this process. It’s an amazing group and what they’re doing is incredible,” said Trost. “To go into rooms and hand these boxes to kids and families, the parents sometimes cry, they’re so touched. It’s very humbling and inspiring to be part of. By bringing in more employees to participate, we’ve seen our team’s lives change for the better, so we always look forward to a delivery day.”
Franchise locations across the U.S. have participated in the deliveries, and this past March, hundreds of franchisees, managers and corporate office staff from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s national Annual Meeting worked with representatives from Cheeriodicals to assemble one-of-a-kind children’s gift boxes as a community-focused team-building activity.
“Our values are an important part of our culture, and our franchise locations are deeply rooted in the local communities in which we live and work,” said Dawn Kroeger, Marketing and Communications Director at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. “We have built such a strong, national partnership with Cheeriodicals, and being able to not only deliver the boxes, but to bring our system together and assemble them was an extremely meaningful and special memory for us.”
Even with seven years of donating moves for Cheeriodicals, that program is not TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s longest standing charity initiative. The company has many other collections throughout the year aimed to give back, including collections for veterans through its Movers for Military collection, the Movers for Mutts program which supports dogs in animal shelters, among others. Franchisees choose to run the collections throughout the year, but there is one national campaign that all franchisees participate in each spring: Movers for Moms®.
Each year, leading up to Mother’s Day, franchise locations find community partners to host donation boxes and throw events with the goal of collecting necessities for women and children in shelters.
Tripp Moore, a franchisee in the Charlotte area, began this initiative in the early 2000s as an unofficial event with another franchisee in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rob Felcher.
When asked what motivated the collection’s beginnings, he says it felt natural.
“I think it’s just part of who we are as a system at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK,” Moore said. “It wasn’t about gaining any type of direct return; it was about helping out people in the community who need it most. We thought, how do we help women and children the most? We decided to find a way to collect basic necessities for women and then Movers for Moms eventually evolved into what it is today.”
And evolve, it has. This year, the company is projecting more than 300,000 items to be collected and donated to women and children in need in shelters across the U.S. Every franchise participates in Movers for Moms, but this is just one of the many collections that takes place throughout the year. When it comes to giving back, everyone in the system, from the corporate team to movers and drivers, gets to participate.
“For me as a franchisee, I want to expose my employees to the community while doing these pick-ups and deliveries, and give them the ability to make local connections. I want them to dig in deeper into what they can do outside of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and to feel good about making a difference in the lives of those who could use some help,” Moore said. “The ultimate joy as an operator of a franchise is to see people take this idea to the next level in their personal lives and to examine ways to help out in their own local communities as well.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s core value of giving back to the local community stems from what Founder Mary Ellen Sheets did with her first $1,000 in revenue. She cut 10 checks, each for $100 to different charities. With this idea in mind, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK has established many partnerships over the years, both nationally and in local markets, to give back whenever possible.
“Giving back is in our blood,” said Kroeger. “Mary Ellen’s initial acts set the tone for the following 30 years we’ve been in business. Our franchise family feels blessed to be in the position to help others, and we are constantly looking for ways to make a difference in the communities in which we serve. If we’re going to have ‘Movers Who Care’ displayed on our trucks, we know that we’re holding ourselves accountable to live out our core values on a daily basis.”