Prior to COVID-19, Commercial Carpet Logistics (CCL) was busy moving carpets and flooring materials throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Then COVID-19 hit, and the family-owned company’s fleet suddenly had less freight to haul.
Cassie Sealing, executive vice president and daughter of company owner Ed Sealing, said the virus has caused people to stop installing carpets for fear of letting installers into their homes and putting family members at risk.
“However, we service the commercial market and contract market quite a bit and once we realized this was getting serious and states were [starting to look at shutdowns], I called all our customers and took their temperature [on what they were going to do],” Sealing told FreightWaves. “Everyone said we are going to be open for business – we’re working and we’re going to do whatever we could do to keep our people working – and so we doubled down to do the same thing.”
While the fleet, which includes about 25 tractor-trailers, 10 box trucks and some sprinter vans, retained some of its flooring business, it was losing the portion tied to home installation. CCL hauls less-than-truckload flooring materials from the large flooring manufacturers in Dalton, Georgia, to stores, dealers and distributors.
Sealing said CCL suddenly had extra capacity and decided it could do something to fulfill another core mission – philanthropy.
“We’re a small family business and our drivers are like family to us; we know their wives and we wanted to keep them working,” she said. “As a group we have always talked about philanthropy. When times are good, we always talk about what we can do, but we wanted to do something besides just writing a check.”
An email brings the answer
Fate in the form of an email intervened a short time later.
“It was crazy that we had that conversation and within hours we got an email from the Maryland Motor Truck Association,” Sealing said. The email was about an organization called Move For Hunger that was looking for truck capacity and drivers – something CCL had.
“I called [them] immediately,” she said.
Move For Hunger connects transportation providers with food banks in need of trucking capacity to relocate food donations. Its network features more than 1,000 freight companies across the country. CCL donated the drivers and trucks to move 80 pallets of food into the food distribution network for the Share Food Program in Philadelphia. Share Food distributes food items to Philadelphia area food banks.
“The pickup for Kraft Foods was only about 40 minutes from our terminal and we set it up with Share Food in Philadelphia and it went off [perfectly],” Sealing said. “It was such a great experience. We want to inspire other carriers to get involved. The food banks usually have fundraisers, but nobody can hold a fundraiser, nobody can go out into the community and ask for money. The food banks are so reliant on individual people.”
Sealing said a fleet simply tells Move For Hunger how much capacity is available and what lanes the trucks run, and the organization will notify the fleet when there is a need that matches that criteria. She added that should CCL be called upon again, it won’t hesitate to help out.
For CCL, it was a win-win, Sealing said, allowing drivers to get paid and do what they love. Like all fleets participating, the CCL trucks and drivers were donated to the cause, but Sealing said the drivers received their normal pay.
“I saw a report that 88,000 truck drivers have lost their jobs, and these guys would be happy to be [driving],” she said. “Truck drivers don’t want to sit at home on unemployment; they want to work. If carriers can find a way to keep them [driving] when fuel is so cheap they should.
“We were just trying to think outside the box and give back to the community,” Sealing added. “The more we can do for each other, the easier and quicker the [economic] restart will be – of course, doing so as safely and as appropriately as we can. But if I can turn my efforts to giving back, I suddenly feel encouraged, I feel renewed. I needed the opportunity to give back, to help Move For Hunger, and it is inspiring to me in our own business.”
Move For Hunger was founded in New Jersey by Adam Lowy in 2009. Lowy’s family owned a moving company and he noticed that when people moved, there was a lot of food sitting in homes that would be thrown out. The organization formed as a way for people to immediately donate that food. Lowy would take the food to a local food bank. Within one month, over 300 pounds of food had been collected and donated.
The organization has since expanded and now counts over 1,000 moving companies as well as realtors, corporate housing providers, relocation management companies and apartment communities in the U.S. and Canada. Move For Hunger has collected and delivered more than 17.1 million pounds of food.
Fleets interested in helping Move For Hunger can call 732-774-0521, email [email protected], or connect with the organization on social media.