When looking for a place for the Pigeon Forge Publix employees to have their annual Service Day, store manager Tim Bismarck had to look no further than the cashier checkout area to find a local nonprofit agency with which to partner.
The store was already collecting donations from customers to support the weekly meal program sponsored by Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries, so Bismarck contacted SMARM about allowing the store’s workers to spend a day helping out.
A total of 15 store employees participated in the recent Service Day, which is an annual event held by Publix employees in communities across the country where there are Publix grocery stores. The employees volunteer to help out a local agency.
“We are so grateful to the Publix employees for their help that day,” SMARM Executive Director Dick Wellons said.
The Publix employees spent the day refurnishing three large storage bins used by SMARM to keep excess items for its two thrift stores. The workers also helped to bail some used clothing for recycling.
The Pigeon Forge Publix store was collecting money at the checkouts as part of an Easter drive to help a local agency’s Hot Meals for Hungry Hearts program held weekly at several area churches. Publix had selected SMARM for that drive, and Bismarck said some $2,000 has been collected, which will be used to purchase food for delivery to SMARM’s offices in Sevierville.
“We realized that we could partner with them for the Service Day,” Bismarck said. “We went ahead and reached out to them to see how we could help.”
The workers scraped the container units to prepare them for painting, sorted some shoes donations and bagged up clothing for baling.
“Nobody was paid for Service Day,” Bismarck said. “Everybody donated their time.”
“We are an agency that depends upon the kindness and generosity of others to succeed at our mission,” Wellons said. “The Publix employees were a huge help.”
Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries was founded to demonstrate the love of Christ by serving individuals and families in their time of need. The organization provides one-on-one assessments and point-of-need services such as short-term housing, utility assistance, transportation, food and clothing. For more information, visit smarm.org or call 865-908-3153.