Helping hands: TQL reaches new highs with National Volunteer Month

Beach cleaning. Basketball tournament assistance. Meal preparation.

Total Quality Logistics volunteers tackled those projects and more in April as part of a record showing for National Volunteer Month. What started as TQL Cares Volunteer Week in 2016 and evolved into a monthlong celebration in 2018 returned for its most impactful edition yet.

TQL teams in 50 cities picked charities to support and completed a company-best 100 service projects. A record 1,552 TQL volunteers led by Charity Captains logged an all-time high 4,318 hours – the equivalent of over two straight years of full-time work.

TQL donated $23,000 to qualifying nonprofits through its volunteer matching program, a 21% increase from 2021.

While the numbers underscored TQL’s commitment to a fun, charitable culture, Indianapolis Charity Captain Audrey E. had an idea what spurred such growth.  

“I think that after the last two years of the pandemic, more people wanted to help others in need,” Audrey said. “There are a lot of young people being hired at TQL too and giving back to the community has been instilled in them. Those two things played big parts.”

Watch: TQL volunteers make it a record month

Choosing a charity was never so easy for Indianapolis volunteers. Audrey, a customer account specialist who leads three of that TQL location’s four charity teams, sent out a list of prospective service projects. The Indiana Special Olympics and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful were runaway winners.

A team of 28 TQL’ers plus a handful of friends and family volunteered at the men’s and women’s Special Olympics state basketball tournaments at the Pacers Athletic Center at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., April 2 and 3. They kept score, worked the check-in area and peddled merchandise and snacks.

Audrey helped register teams, which meant identifying tipoff times and directing players and coaches to their courts. She loved interacting with athletes and their families along the way.

“It was a very humbling experience and eye-opening to see these wonderful adults competing in the Special Olympics. They just loved every moment they were there,” Audrey said.

Her fellow volunteers echoed the sentiment. Audrey said they were so touched by the experience that they hope to volunteer at more Special Olympics events throughout the year.

The Indianapolis team pivoted to a Keep Indianapolis Beautiful project at Arsenal Park April 23. Nineteen TQL volunteers planted 50 trees in three hours, gussying up a part of the city in need of a makeover. 

Fort Lauderdale group sales leader Vanessa C. never imagined the array of junk and left-behind items her team would find during TQL’s hourlong cleanup of Pompano Beach April 16.

Forks. Hats. Sunglasses. Kids’ toys. That debris amplified a trash haul primarily comprised of plastics, glass and cigarette butts.

Vanessa, a second-year Charity Captain, said a 45-person volunteer group of TQL’ers and their family members used city-provided bags and gloves to beautify the Floridian stretch of sand and surf.

Addition by subtraction never looked so good to TQL’ers and curious beachgoers watching the efforts. The TQL team’s positive vibes stood out almost as much as the disappearing litter.

“We definitely came in with a good spirit and a lot of people at the beach recognized it,” Vanessa said. “I passed out a few business cards. People were like, ‘What’s TQL?’ I’m sure it was nice marketing, but it was nice because people noticed. They noticed our blue shirts. It was a presence.”

Vanessa said volunteers plan to meet again to clean Fort Lauderdale Beach in July.

To say Jessica L. is passionate about volunteerism is an understatement. She developed an interest in charity work as a high schooler, continued giving back in college and became a Charity Captain last year. The Denver sales team leader organized five volunteer events in April.

“I really just love providing opportunities,” Jessica said.

Her team completed a multi-pronged service project for the Denver Children’s Home, which serves abused, neglected and traumatized kids and their families with mental health issues. First, the TQL’ers held a bake sale. Then they used the proceeds to prepare dinner at the home, where they met and entertained the kids.

The Denver team also sorted, packed and stacked pet food and supplies from statewide donations to the Colorado Pet Pantry. They planted 15 peach and cherry trees, 15 partner trees and six bushes at a Denver Urban Gardens site. They collected multiple bins of food and personal care items for The Delores Project, a charity that provides shelter for women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness.

Jessica said TQL’s volunteerism fortified team morale, instilled pride and made lasting positive impacts on the environment.

“That’s what we’re all looking for – changes in the planet,” Jessica said. “That’s what I took away from it. Making the world a better place.”

With ingredients and instructions in hand, TQL’s Grand Rapids team prepared dinners and desserts at the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan four times during National Volunteer Month.

Their white chicken enchiladas, pesto chicken pasta, ham and veggie casseroles, chocolate cranberry muffins and cheddar biscuits fed families whose children underwent critical medical and mental health treatment at nearby facilities.

Charity Captain Matthew F., a senior logistics account executive, said the cooking was productive and the impact was rewarding.

“It’s been cool to hear stories about families we’ve been able to help with warm meals throughout their time at the facility,” Matthew said.

Twenty TQL’ers assisted with meal prep and another 15 helped with spring cleanup on the facility’s grounds, from mulching to leaf removal.

TQL Grand Rapids typically partners with the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan for 20 annual projects. Volunteerism also has a way of uniting TQL’ers, Matthew said. Bonding comes easily over noodle boiling and carrot chopping.

“It’s been a good time for TQL employees to get to know each other outside work. We’re not just talking about freight. We’re learning about each other in a different environment,” Matthew said. “We’re also seeing really important things happening outside the logistics world and having the chance to give back.”

Giving back is part of who we are. Interested in being part of a team that likes to help? Consider a career at TQL.

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