-Written by Erik Sargent
Making a difference in the world is only obtainable when people come together and use the resources around them, and for the faith-based organization Convoy of Hope, this was the exact mindset that helped it come to fruition.
Convoy of Hope – which is based out of Springfield, Missouri – was founded in 1994 with the plans of making a difference in communities all around the world, mainly by working to feed children through feeding initiatives, community outreaches, and disaster response.
“Most of what we do has a focus on feeding,” said Eric Neubauer, corporate relations director for Convoy of Hope. “Secondarily, the flip-side of that coin is we’ve also been an early responder in times of natural disasters. There was a point in our mission where we felt like responding and being a part of relief efforts was important to who we are and what we did.”
Since the organization has grown over nearly 25 years of operation, Convoy of Hope now has their focus set in six main areas: community events, children’s feeding, disaster services, agriculture, women’s empowerment, and rural compassion.
The number of people reached by Convoy of Hope are staggering when you examine what they’ve been able to do since 1994, which includes 100 million people served, 262 million meals distributed, and 615,000 volunteers mobilized to help children, families, and survivors of disasters. These numbers also include 115 countries served and $805 million worth of food and supplies distributed.
It’s no small task to be on the ground helping at so many different places for so many different causes, but a strong infrastructure allows Convoy of Hope to make it possible.
“Part of what gives us the ability to do that and what makes us so unique is our infrastructure,” Neubauer said. “Think of us like a logistics organization. We have a fleet of semis, we have an international headquarters here in Springfield with a 3,000 square foot building with essential supplies and products. We also have regional warehouses in different parts of the world, including Haiti, Asia, Puerto Rico, and Houston.”
This impressive infrastructure allows Convoy of Hope to adapt on the go to whatever the disaster situation may need and stay prepared for any situation.
“Because of our logistical capacity and our infrastructure, we are not dependent on partnering with A, B, and C organization when deploying of times of disaster,” Neubauer said. “Because we have our infrastructure, we are at the disaster and supplying what we need for the disaster on our own.”
A partnership based on a common goal
At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, finding any and all ways to give back to the communities we operate in and the people we serve has been our goal over the last 30 years.
For Greg Micklos, franchisee of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Pensacola, Fla., location, this same sentiment was on his mind last year when Hurricane Harvey crashed the shores of the Gulf Coast. The damage was substantial, people needed help, and he knew his moving team and his trucks could be of use. The next step was finding a partner to put these resources to good use.
Micklos had been organizing both the supplies to be donated and also organizing a fleet of trucks to head to Houston when a mutual connection led him to Convoy of Hope.
“I was involved in Hurricane Floyd and Dennis in 1999 when I was living in North Carolina, I have experienced hurricane devastation myself,” said Micklos. “I knew a lot of people in the Florida area would be coming in and out of disaster areas, and knew we would need some kind of credentials to get into devastation areas. Finding an organization like Convoy of Hope to help us actually get in there and get out without making a scene – we knew they needed supplies, and it was a great fit for us.”
A couple of quick phone calls later, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and Convoy of Hope had plans in the works to tag-team these hurricane relief efforts.
“When Eric Neubauer from Convoy of Hope and I got together and actually developed a strategic plan together to figure out what we had and what we could do, it just seemed to be a phenomenal fit,” Micklos said.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s resources helped boost the efforts of Convoy of Hope, who was already established in the disaster areas.
“For us, it just makes sense to ask if there is a logistics connection, and if it could radically improve our capacity,” Neubauer said. “People want do something to help, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK has tons of trucks and people.”
Since Hurricane Harvey, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK has continued to work together with Convoy of Hope where it makes sense, as each organization works hard to make a difference when possible.
Micklos noted that over the last year, he has remained in contact with Convoy of Hope and kept an open dialogue about what has worked in their relief efforts and what hasn’t as they plan to coordinate in the future. With the ability to provide both trucks and man-power on relatively short notice, the two organizations have developed an understanding with one another and are working to build their partnership.
“Our core values align so well,” Micklos said. “We’re all for one, one for all, and we can’t just do it by ourselves. [Founder] Mary Ellen Sheets said it best – ‘all of us are stronger than one of us’, so you look at that and we’re right there with Convoy of Hope sharing the same values.”
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