A successful Champion Logistics “Turkeys for 20” Blue Bag event changes lives

On November 16th, we delivered 20 turkeys and Blue Bags to the Champion Logistics Group.  This is 3rd annual Blue Bag event at Champion Logistics Group and this year the team was really organized.  They wanted to provide more of a personal touch to the delivery of the turkeys and Blue Bags this year.  So, five employee teams were organized.  Extra food items were purchased, including fresh produce.  In addition, they collected over $500 which they used to buy gift cards for families.  AMAZING!!!   

The following is a copy of an email Dane Hiteman,Vice President Transportation Division, Champion Logistics wrote to the employee teams after the event.  It is a heartwarming email that gives us all a view into what happens when needy families receive their turkey and Blue Bags.  Reading the article, you will have no doubt in your mind that we are changing lives.  Thanks to Dane for allowing us to share his email.  And a special thanks to all those at Champion Logistics who participated in this serving event.  For more pictures from the event, see our Facebook Album at 17Nov2018 – Champion Logistics


“Turkeys for 20” Volunteers:

This year’s, “Turkeys for 20”, was a resounding success because of all of you! What exactly did you do to make it such a great event?! Well sit down and let me tell you….

YOU collected all of the food that we needed AND a little extra in half the time that we did last year. We even had a surprise donation of food from one of our employees mom’s company who heard what we were doing. A HUGE thank you to Jessica Foerster and the great folks in the Credit & Collections Team at Altorfer Caterpillar! Had NO idea that they were doing this!

YOU also collected a little OVER $500! The original goal was $400 so we could buy our families an extra $20 in perishable groceries (milk, butter, biscuits, etc.). You not only reached that goal, but we ended up having $135 left over to donate to Food For Friends to continue to provide support for events like ours and more. Above and beyond the $135, we had one anonymous donor who’s family wrote a $250 check directly to Food For Friends in support of this project.  OUTSTANDING!!!!  Champion donated $50O in Target gift cards ($25 card for each family) as well as a $500 check to Food For Friends!

YOU were also part of your illustrious volunteer “Turkey Teams”. They Donated hours on a Saturday to assemble the meals, load them into their personal cars, and deliver them directly to families that St. John Vianney indicated needed some extra help. This was a pretty straight forward operation, but what we really got was so much more. Each team went above and beyond decorating the care packages including holiday cards, Thanksgiving decorations, and having separate gifts for the kids at each house.  Remember, teams were allocated $20 for the extra perishable food items.  All of these added items were out of the teams own personal pockets…and we still had $135 left over so that means that teams chose not to get fully reimbursed for the perishable groceries bought. I think we now know what “giving” in Thanksgiving really means. It was really something special to see the lengths people went to for their families.

I’d like to close this years event with a small story from an experience my team (Nick A., Kim N., and Rafael S.) had. My job was to drive and carry the care packages from the car to the house, Nick was our navigator and spoke to the families to schedule the drop-offs, Kim New helped Rafael co-leading the team and was our Target Card hander-outer (yeah I just made that up. It’s official now), and Raphael was the Team Lead, grocery getter, and photographer. I think both Kim and I would agree that we were part of the Nick and Rafael show during the deliveries. Nick delivered the greetings and holiday wishes mostly in Spanish and he did it with such sincerity and kindness that I caught myself listening more to him than paying attention and smiling at the families. Rafael acted like he was the wedding photographer at a palace. Over-the-top manners, always maneuvering into position, and consistently getting the perfect shot like he almost knew the family.

Anyway, at one of our deliveries we had to go around the back of a small house to gain access to steep wooden stairs to the second floor. When I mean steep, I mean a goat might not attempt taking the trash out on a sunny day and it had been snowing for hours by the time our motley crew arrived. We cautiously maneuvered up the staircase with only room for Nick to stand at the top landing to greet the family. After a short knock on the door we marched single-file into a very small kitchen with dirty dishes piled in the sink. We stood around a kitchen table that could barely fit four and faced a young Hispanic woman holding the smallest of her three children. Toys were dispensed to each of the children who seemed unsure of what the gift was for and what was going on. The entire time Nick and the woman took turns speaking Spanish with the rest of the team playing the, “I recognize that word” game. As the conversation went on you could read the woman’s facial expressions of genuine happiness and gratitude. The whole conversation took on very soft tones and you could hear Nick being as gentle as possible while finding just the right words to say. Her eyes, and everyone else’s in the room, started to well up. It turned out that we did not need to know any Spanish. In this one brief moment you understood what it was all about. Saddened that families like this struggle, humbled by enormous helpings of gratitude, and pride that we had the privilege and honor to deliver what we all helped to put together.

Nick, remembering that we don’t speak Spanish and that we must have been bursting at the seams to find out what was said, turned to us and said in the same gentle voice, “she said that she just moved here a few weeks ago. Around the holidays it’s always very hard for them. She said that this food could not have come at a better time.” As Nick was translating to us, we were exchanging glances between Nick, the woman and her children. Although the children’s expressions never changed, the woman continued to fight back tears. We all were fighting them. Moments later we said our goodbyes to the family and shuffled down the steep stairs. Back in the car we all quickly agreed that we almost all lost it and how fortunate we were to be able to help these families in some small way. Although we laughed that Raphael still managed to get his photo, our group had been changed from that visit. It made all of it worth every bit of the effort. Rafael perfectly commented later, “as a new father I felt extremely grateful and lucky for my healthy baby girl, and this opportunity to give back was a fantastic chance to spread some holiday cheer.” Jessica K, from another delivery team commented, “It is one thing to know about and give towards someone’s needs and another thing entirely to experience first-hand how your giving impacts a family. Words can never fully express how someone feels receiving a gift or for the person(s) giving the gift. The reward is truly received on both ends.”

Thanks to all who volunteered, donated and participated!

Dane Hiteman
Vice President Transportation Division, Champion Logistics