After five minutes with Dean and Gloria Pugh, you can’t help but notice their contagious enthusiasm.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs are excited about their companies and their potential. In the case of the Pughs, owners of AMWAT Moving, Warehousing & Storage, that feeling seems to bubble over into their desire for serving their fellow residents and improving Tallahassee.
At the moment, they are enthused about one other thing — their company’s just-received national award as “Mover of the Year” from Move for Hunger during the American Moving and Storage Association Annual Conference in Atlanta. Their hunger-relief work was the best among more than 450 moving companies in 44 states.
Move for Hunger is a national nonprofit that originated with a simple idea, Dean said. Customers who were packing up their things for a move were most likely to be throwing away the nonperishable items in their kitchens and pantries rather than taking that food with them. The organization began urging movers to gather those products and redirect them to local food banks.
“Thanks to companies like AMWAT, Move for Hunger delivered more than 600,000 pounds of food in 2012,” said Adam Lowy, executive director of the organization.
AMWAT has had its own “5 for 5” project since 2009, meaning customers get a 5-percent discount off their bill if they bring in five nonperishable food items. When they consider the fact that a small box of food could help feed dozens of people, most customers jump at the chance to help, Gloria said.
The Pughs are quick to credit their staff, customers and community with the success of the food drive. “The community does support us whenever we have a call to action,” Gloria said, adding that the collaborative approach to local needs pays off. “We can improve our community, but we have to work together,” she added.
AMWAT is a behind-the-scenes supporter of several nonprofits. The company provides free storage each year for all the items in the Junior League of Tallahassee’s Whale of a Sale fundraiser. The company donates in-kind services for the March of Dimes, the Children’s Home Society, Brehon Institute and others, saving the organizations on expenses so they can direct that money to delivering services.
AMWAT’s national honor has re-energized the Pughs — if that’s even possible. “This award has raised the bar for us, in that we want to have a fill-the-truck event,” Dean says. As soon as the date and location are determined, you’ll have the chance to pitch in against hunger — and catch a good case of enthusiasm.