CRC has a very special relationship with Tim and Ronald from Progressive Directions. They’re our friends, our collaborators and our delivery boys.
Every month or so, Tim and Ronald drive the Progressive Directions truck down from Clarksville to make a pick-up at a major retailer that donates to CRC. We keep most of the household goods; Progressive Directions gets all the food and whatever else they want from the haul. But it doesn’t stop there.
When they get back to Clarksville, they start making deliveries. Not because it’s part of their job but because they’re acutely aware of other agencies in need. Last month, here’s where some of that donation went:
Mana Cafe Ministries, which feeds low-income families and the homeless.
Grace Assistance Program, which helps the poor meet basic needs such as food, utility bills, temporary emergency shelter and transportation.
Good Samaritan Ministry, which provides medical and dental services to the uninsured poor.
Progressive Directions itself used those donations in their residential programs; in its Early Intervention program, which serves preschool children with developmental delays; and in its Buddy Ball program, a special needs athletic league.
That’s a lot of love shown to a lot of people far beyond the dock doors at CRC World Headquarters.
It occurred to me today that we are in an odd business. Tim and Ronald from Progressive Directions made a pick-up for the Chicks at a major distributor of the types of items you see in gift shops in Gatlinburg or Branson.
We split the truckload so it’s a win-win. But this is the moment today when I realized that most people don’t carry on business conversations like this:
“Frogs?” Tim yelled. “You want the frogs?
“No, you can have them,” I yell back.
“Sun Kissing Dolphins? You want those?”
“You can have those, too.”
“Color Your Own Cups?”
“Yes, we want those.”
Seriously, we are thankful for every box full of resin hillbilly figurines and mood rings. And such like that. During our Christmas Giveaway we serve literally tens of thousands of people in need. Most of them would not be remembered during the holidays were it not for our nonprofit partners who take the items donated to CRC and spread them among the lonely, the home-bound, the troubled and those living in abject poverty. When you have nothing in your house or apartment that is even remotely decorative sometimes a Sun Kissing Dolphin looks pretty good.
We are not low tech at CRC World Headquarters. But we’re not high tech, either. So when our good friends, Tim and Ronald from Progressive Directions, stopped by to deliver some primo copy paper donated to us, Betsy and I happily stepped back to watch the masters at work.
Lookin’ good here, Tim. Just muscle that paper out of the truck using a pallet jack.
Oh, oh. Dang, that paper is heavy. Tim and Ronald try to push it out of the truck. Sometimes it’s good to be a girl. Betsy and I just watch and sympathize.
What to do, what to do? Can’t pull it, can’t push it. Okay, so we’re not going to go high tech here. When in doubt, just pick it up and transfer it to a pallet by hand.
Sometimes, it’s good to be a girl. Those boys are so chivalrous that when we offered to help I think we wounded their pride.
So here’s the Mission Moment: Progressive Directions, which serves people with mental and physical challenges, partners with us in so many ways. One of them is the blessed gift of Tim and Ronald to help us get donations to the warehouse. We share in the bounty, which helps them with their bottom line. More donations for them means less money their clients have to spend on residential housing, leaving them with a little disposable income for a movie or a haircut. Everyone needs the simple pleasures in life.
And our take goes to our other nonprofit partners. If they aren’t paying for copy paper, they’re using the money to directly help people. Win win.
Gifts are not required when our nonprofit partners come to the warehouse for basic household necessities for their clients. But they are always appreciated.
Tim Mitchell from Progressive Directions has been a partner with CRC for many years. But Tim’s become more than a partner. He’s also a friend. When the Chicks first moved to our warehouse on Omohundro, Tim drove down from Clarksville to install our shelving. We’ve also borrowed Tim and his truck on occasion for pick-ups around town. He knows the Chicks have a sweet tooth so he’s all the time bringing us cookies and cupcakes and such.
So imagine our delight when Tim arrived at the warehouse yesterday with an entire chocolate cake! We should say here that Tim has conquered a few health issues in the last several years and chocolate cake is not on his approved list anymore. However, if you will notice in the photo, he “accidentally” got a little chocolate icing on his finger and, well, just had to remove it by licking it off. That’s okay, Tim. A little frosting isn’t going to hurt you and the Chicks took care of the other 99.9 percent.
It’s hard being in the disaster relief business sometimes. Take today. The lovely people at Dollar General have pallets of the really good stuff – personal l-hygiene products – ready for us to pick up. Normally, Betsy or I would rent a U-Haul and drive over to Goodlettsville to get them. But we’re a little stretched thin. So here is the circuitous route I took to getting a truck:
1. I call Stu at Progressive Directions. They share their truck and driver, Tim, with us from time to time. Tim is home sick. They’re not sure when he’s going to be back. I go to Plan B.
2. Plan B is to get Chick Kim to rent the U-Haul and drive out to Goodlettsville. That Kim, she’s such a good girl. She immediately says yes. Only problem: We’re having a bit of a disaster here and we’re not sure we can find a U-Haul. Kim volunteers to go to Murfreesboro, 30 miles away, to find one.
3. I am now nervous that I won’t have a truck. So I call my insurance agent, John Ridenour (better known as Yogi). Why am I calling my insurance agent? Because he took me to a networking breakfast a few months ago where I met Jim Zacari of Armstrong Relocation. Armstrong dropped off some primo office furniture at CRC a few days later, but I lost his contact information in the flood. “Hey, Yogi, could you get in touch with Jim and see if he would give us a truck?”
4. Jim says yes. Yippee! I call off Kim. I try to call off Progressive Directions. Stu sends me an e-mail. Tim is set to pick up the load on Friday. Now I have two trucks going to Dollar General to pick up the same merchandise. I panic. I call Betsy. “Do you have Tim’s cellphone number?” Betsy pauses. “Catherine, it’s Wednesday. Armstrong is picking up Thursday. We have time to fix this with Progressive Directions tomorrow.” Oh. Right.