The Maryland Food Bank (MFB) became a Merkle Response Management Group (RMG) client in March 2015. Merkle RMG provides donation processing, data capture, exceptions handling, and acknowledgement printing and mailing in support of MFB’s direct mail fundraising program.
But our support for MFB goes beyond the scope of our business services. This year, Merkle RMG dedicated the month of July to MFB’s mission to end hunger in Maryland by collecting food donations for those in need.
And it all began with Twitter!
Social Media Plants the Seed
As a part of Merkle RMG’s social media engagement strategy, our president, Bill Sayre, encouraged employees to become more familiar with the Twitter platform. Many of us have become regular Twitter users, and have learned to follow other users and re-tweet their postings.
Since I specialize in our acknowledgment and premium fulfillment services at Merkle RMG, I made a list of the clients that we handle those services for so I could follow their tweets and gain more insight into their programs and initiatives. On June 20, one in particular caught my attention. MFB tweeted that because schools were closed for summer break, many children who depend on school-provided lunches during the academic year were going hungry.
This just broke my heart. I have grandchildren, and when they come over sometimes in the afternoons, they can eat three to four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in one sitting. They’re always hungry! I thought, ‘”Oh my goodness. There are children right here in our community who don’t have lunch over the summer.”
“Merkle RMG’s donation of 338 pounds of food will provide over 225 meals to food-insecure children. Thank you, Merkle, for helping us end hunger in Maryland!” -- Amy Rupp, managing director, western branch, Maryland Food Bank
I knew my colleagues at Merkle RMG would want to help, so I approached Bill and asked permission for us to hold a month-long food drive.
I sent an email to MFB about what I wanted to do and they responded very positively. They put me in contact with the appropriate person in their organization, who sent us promotional materials, information about items they need most, and directions for dropping off the donations at the end of the month.
At Merkle RMG, we named the project, “Merkle Fulfillment – Project Fulfilling Hungry Bellies”. We asked employees across the company to donate high-demand food items, including pasta and rice; canned proteins like tuna, beans, chicken or peanut butter; breakfast foods like cereal, oatmeal or granola bars; canned soups and stews; and dairy products like evaporated milk, baby formula or shelf-stable milk.
To spread the word and encourage participation, I created a flier that I sent to employees via email. A few colleagues helped post the same flier near time clocks and in the media center. We also set up a table in the media center with the flier prominently displayed and placed a box in a convenient location where staff could put donations. Another Merkle RMG employee posted about the drive on the company’s Facebook page, and Bill and I have been tweeting about it as well.
Throughout the month of July, MFB also tweeted that Merkle RMG was accepting donations on their behalf. They were very grateful for our participation.
Response from Merkle RMG staff has been very positive. Several people in Account Management have come forward and said it was an excellent cause. Some pooled funds as a group and purchased a large number of supplies from Sam’s Club. Human Resources donated as a department as well.
A Fulfilling Project
By the end of July, we had collected over 338 lbs. of food – enough to provide over 225 meals, according to MFB. On Friday, July 29, Merkle RMG staff members boxed up the donations and delivered them to MFB’s facility in Hagerstown, Maryland. Knowing our efforts put more than 200 meals on the table for hungry children in our community was extremely fulfilling. I’m proud to be part of a team that cares so much for our clients’ missions.