Helping Veterans Through the 'Movers for Military' Program

The need to give back to those who risked their lives to keep the country safe should not be ignored. Two Men And A Truck International is doing its part with a veterans-focused program.

By Randy Shacka
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there is an estimated 39,471 homeless veterans on any given night. Beyond that, nearly 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk to homelessness, whether that is due to poverty, lack of support networks, or dismal living conditions. This is a heartbreaking number to many Americans considering the service these men and women have provided to the country. But being saddened by this number is different than giving back to the cause, and many companies simply don’t know where to begin or how to support these veterans.
As the “Movers Who Care,” Two Men And A Truck took a step back and researched ways in which it would be able to give back to those who deserve help. The brand realized its strength in numbers with the amount of trucks and number of employees it has, and the team recognized an opportunity to help. With more than 380 locations and a fleet of 2,700, Two Men And A Truck knew its best plan was to utilize the materials it already has access to in order to give back to these veterans. Thus, Movers for Military was born. Through the program, Two Men And A Truck locations partner with local schools and businesses to collect essential items that homeless or poverty-ridden veterans do not have access to. Products such as shoes, blankets, and canned food are collected and loaded into a truck until it is filled. Once the trucks are filled, they are delivered to veterans living in shelters leading up to Veterans Day.

Local Involvement Important

In order to find success in the program, Two Men And A Truck educates the entire franchise system on the importance of the cause. This allows franchisees to do their part on a local level, meeting with teachers, business owners and shelter employees in their communities and getting involved as a company that cares about the cause.
By stressing the importance of local involvement, the brand has become engrained in their communities and formed relationships with shelter partners as opposed to just donating money on behalf of the entire company. For example, Marisa Elias, sales and marketing manager at Two Men And A Truck San Diego, coordinated Movers for Military for the fourth year in a row in the fall of 2016. With each year, the location has seen growth with new partners coming on board, resulting in an increased number of donations for local homeless veterans. With the determination of Marisa and her marketing and sales intern, James Kearns, the duo partnered with 23 schools and businesses in the community last year.
“We have a particularly strong military presence in San Diego, with an estimated 40 percent of the homeless population being veterans,” Elias said. “We are eager to do our part and help on a local level. These men and women have had a tough life and our Movers for Military drive makes it a little bit easier by providing them with essential, everyday items.”
The San Diego team truly made an impact in its community, collecting 1,718 items for veterans in need to the Veterans Village of San Diego, a partnership they’ve had for four years. 
Similar to San Diego’s efforts, the Two Men And A Truck team in Tampa, Fla. celebrated its fourth year with the successful Movers for Military program. Each year proved more impressive than the previous, and at the 2015 second annual golf outing, the team brought in $7,600 and donated a grand total of 13,216 items to the cause.
“Living our core values is very important and we want to show our support for homeless veterans and their families who all deserve care for defending our freedom every day,” explained Eugenia Parlow, marketing coordinator at Two Men And A Truck Tampa.

It’s a Privilege, Not a Chore

It is clear the need to give back to those who risked their lives to keep the country safe is something that should not be ignored. National businesses have the privilege of numbers and area coverage behind them and have the opportunity to implement a plan to help as much as they can. Two Men And A Truck has played to its strength in numbers and franchisees when implementing a program by getting involved in each community where the brand has a presence. 
The Movers for Military program is only expected to grow with time and experience as the company continues expanding its presence across the U.S. and existing franchisees look for additional initiatives to embrace in
their communities. 
Randy Shacka is president of Two Men And A Truck International, a franchise moving company based in Lansing, Mich.