For more than seven years, Apex Moving & Storage has been helping deliver donations to food banks and pantries in Puyallup, Washington and its surrounding communities. The relationships they have built and the trust they have earned from those emergency food providers enabled the Stevens Van Lines agents to quickly respond to the escalating need for assistance during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Last weekend, Apex Moving & Storage delivered donations from the Puyallup Food Bank to the Motion Church for their "Meals in Motion" programs, which offered drive-through food distribution at 3 different locations. Dean Savage, President of Apex Moving & Storage, cited his company's longstanding partnership with the Food Bank as one of the reasons they were able to provide rapid relief to hundreds of families in their community.
"We have been working with the Puyallup Food Bank for more than 7 years," Savage said. "We have a great relationship with Executive Director Jim Beaudoin and his team."
One of Move For Hunger's goals is to help create community partnerships between members of our network and their local food banks that will grow organically. That has certainly been the case here, as Apex Moving & Storage's collaboration with the Food Bank has continued to expand over time.
"Besides normal small donations we would bring from our customers, we started helping with their largest food drive of the year at the Washington State Fair," Savage said. "Soon after that, we began helping other companies and organizations collect and deliver the donations to their warehouse."
Over the past year, Apex Moving & Storage has also been doing what they can to assist the Bonney Lake Food Bank. Savage said his team has made several pick-ups over the past month, including just last week. A well-timed text message from Savage to the Bonney Lake Food Bank's Executive Director, Stacey Crnich, made that one possible.
"Dean simply texted me: 'Hey, I have a truck in the area...do you need anything?,'' Crinch said in a post on the Food Bank's Facebook page. "My freezers are full, and my mind is at ease."
Transportation is often one of the biggest expenses for food banks. With a fleet of trucks, experienced drivers, and a crew capable of doing the heavy lifting, moving companies like Apex are in a unique position to help. In addition to delivering nearly 600,000 lbs. of food since 2015, Apex Moving & Storage has also been providing warehouse space to both the Puyallup and Bonney Lake Food Banks.
"Between the two food banks and Meals In Motion distribution, we store anywhere between 10 and 30 pallets of food at a time," Savage said. "We also store items like refrigerators for the Bonney Lake Food Bank. During the warehouse floor remodeling at the Puyallup Food Bank, our warehouse had nearly 40 pallets stored for the weeks of repairs."
Puyallup is located about 35 miles South of Seattle, a region that has been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The economic fallout from the crisis is making things even more difficult for people who are facing hunger. Unemployment claims are skyrocketing. Children are no longer receiving meals at school. Senior citizens are putting themselves at risk simply by going to the grocery store.
Meanwhile, food banks are facing their own challenges. As nervous shoppers stock up on food and household supplies, retailers have much less to donate. Social distancing has made holding food drives all but impossible. And many food banks are reporting a shortage of volunteers to help sort and pack food for distribution.
Although the situation is evolving every day, Savage said that Apex Moving & Storage will continue to help for as long as they possibly can.
"As long as the Governor allows it, we will be assisting even more than we have in the past. The need is so much greater."
The COVID-19 Pandemic is going to have a massive economic impact and will drastically increase the need for emergency food assistance nationwide. Move For Hunger is actively searching for ways to meet the demand, but we're going to need your help.