Summer 2020
GSF Foundation Donates Over 8,400 Backpacks to Help Students Succeed This School Year
The first day of school will look much different this year for many U.S. students who will meet their new teachers and classmates virtually, as distance learning begins. In some areas, students returning to campuses have added a new set of facemasks to their typical back-to-school wardrobe. However, one thing remains the same, as GSF Foundation’s Back(pack) to School program supports students in need preparing for the school year ahead. This summer, Foundation volunteers from 16 local committees help set students up for success by donating 8,485 backpacks filled with essential learning supplies.

"Whether they’re learning in a classroom or at home, these school supplies will support kids’ academic success. It’s just amazing to see our associates come together to make this program happen, despite all the obstacles this year. Kids need us now more than ever, and our volunteers have stepped up to help and make a big impact!"

– Vanessa Hugon, GSF Foundation Program and Development Specialist
Since 2002, GSF Foundation’s Back(pack) to School program has provided more than 137,000 backpacks to first grade students in need across the U.S., so they can begin the school year ready to learn. Donating these academic necessities to at-risk children also promotes and encourages attendance, while boosting self-confidence.

Adjusting for current circumstances related to the Coronavirus pandemic, some committees have ordered pre-stuffed backpack kits, while others pivoted plans to coordinate home-assembly efforts. Maintaining social distancing guidelines and safety protocols, volunteers have organized backpack distributions with beneficiary schools through drop-offs or drive-throughs.
In its fifth consecutive year of Back(pack) to School participation, the GSF Foundation committee in KanPak Penn Yan, New York has donated 1,400 backpacks this year—the biggest amount among all participating committees—to local school children. Newly established local GSF Foundation committees in Frisco, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah have jump-started their community support efforts with first-time participation in the Back(pack) to School program.

Supporting this year’s backpack donations, business partners include Craftsmen Utility Trailer, Gateway Industrial Power, Morning Star Packing Company, and Taylor Farms Texas. These partnerships augment the generous contributions of GSF associates, which fund Back(pack) to School and the Foundation’s other core programs to help improve the quality of life of children and families.
Conyers, Irvine, and Spokane Foundation Teams Lead 2020 Volunteer Hours
For the first and second quarters of 2020, GSF Foundation volunteerism collectively totaled 700 hours of supporting neighbors in need in the communities where associates live and work. Congratulations to the Foundation teams in Conyers, Georgia; Irvine, California; and Spokane, Washington for leading all local Foundation Committees in second quarter volunteer hours.
GSF Foundation’s “Can’t Stop the Good” Associate Campaign Launches in September
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail can stop the good of GSF Foundation volunteers! These big-hearted do-gooders persevere through natural disasters, global pandemics, and social unrest to help those who would otherwise go without many of life’s essentials.

In September, GSF Foundation launches its annual Associate Campaign, which generates support from 26 local Foundation committees, serving to improve the quality of life of children and families in need in the areas where GSF associates live and work through personal involvement and contributions. Chaired by 49-year GSF associate Lee Gragnano, the 2021 Associate Campaign, themed “Can’t Stop the Good,” reflects associates’ perseverance in doing good, despite the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

“The steadfast commitment of our Foundation volunteers through the years and especially during the pandemic and economic hardships of 2020, has been remarkable and inspiring. At a time when our neighbors need our help the most, nothing can stop our volunteers and all the good they do through the GSF Foundation.”

– Lee Gragnano, 2021 Associate Campaign Chair and DOT/EHS Compliance Director for GSF

In September, U.S. associates will have an opportunity to attend a fun, informative Associate Campaign meeting hosted by their local Foundation committee. Celebrating hundreds of unstoppable GSF Foundation volunteers who give of their time, talent and treasure, these meetings will recognize how associates continually live the GSF Creed and Values through their Foundation involvement.

Since its inception in 2002, GSF Foundation volunteers have collectively generated nearly $57 million from their own donations to serve more than 600 nonprofits and schools. During nearly two decades of associate-led, associate-funded philanthropy, the Foundation has donated 1.2 million meals to food-insecure families, 137,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, over 25,000 pairs of shoes to elementary school children, and nearly 8,000 bikes to children in need.

And, all the good works won’t stop there! During next month’s campaign meetings, associates will have the opportunity to learn about ways to help in the year ahead.
GSF Foundation In the News
Dairy Reporter: KanPak Swiftly Bottles Surplus Milk to Support Hunger Relief
In June, GSF Foundation supported a fast-tracked initiative to package surplus milk and donate 137,280 eight-ounce bottles of shelf-stable, premium, whole milk to several U.S. food banks.

"I saw on TV that they were throwing milk away, and I thought that was crazy. I knew that there had to be something that we could do to help," said Larry McGill, Corporate Vice President, GSF and CEO of the company's dairy products subsidiary, KanPak U.S.

Read more in the full story by Dairy Reporter here.
Finger Lakes Times: Back(pack) to School Makes a Difference in Penn Yan, New York
In its fifth year of participating in the Foundation's Back(pack) to School program, KanPak Penn Yan volunteers delivered 1,400 backpacks to help local students succeed in the school year ahead.

“We believe every child deserves to begin their academic career with the tools necessary to become a successful student,” said Melissa Nolan, KanPak New York chairwoman for the GSF Foundation. “We are thrilled to donate backpacks and supplies to students in need, especially during these challenging and uncertain times.”

Read more in the Finger Lakes Times story here.
Welcome, GSF Foundation Frisco!
Quality Custom Distribution associates at the corporate headquarters in Frisco, Texas launched their local GSF Foundation committee this summer. Bringing the Foundation's local committee count to 26 across the U.S., the Frisco Committee kick-started its volunteerism with Back(pack) to School donations this month.

Additionally, the Frisco QCD headquarters lobby now features bronze statues of children, which represent GSF Foundation's commitment to improving the quality of life of children and families in the communities where associates live and work.
Sharing Your Stories
Many birthday boys and girls will celebrate quietly at home this year due to Coronavirus health and safety guidelines, as well as economic hardships related to the global pandemic. To spread cheer to families in their local Arkansas City community, Foundation volunteers from KanPak Kansas created birthday kits with associate donations like candles, streamers, and balloons. The kits will help youngsters celebrate special childhood moments, like blowing out birthday candles and making a wish on their special day.
"I wanted to do this for the kids in our community to ensure that even in these uncertain times when many families are facing struggles, we can help maintain a sense of normalcy. While birthdays might seem like a small thing in uncertain times, they mean more to children and receiving something special for them to celebrate their special day can mean the world.”

– Chelsea Ramirez, GSF Foundation Arkansas City Volunteer
Meet Gregg Tarlton
Gregg Tarlton, QCD East Regional Operations Director, serves the national GSF Foundation as a Board Member and Chair of the Program Committee. A 25-year GSF associate, he offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here are five things to know about Gregg:

  1. While serving on the Board of Directors for South Carolina's Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia, Gregg says of his rewarding involvement that he received more back than he gave in supporting families in need of a meal or someone to talk to about their experiences.
  2. As the General Manager for a GSF facility in North Carolina, Gregg helped launch the Foundation's first-ever Feeding Hunger: A "No Lunch" Lunch event, which raised $61,000 to provide food to families in need.
  3. Originally from Lexington, South Carolina, Gregg graduated from the University of South Carolina, where he played baseball and studied criminal justice.
  4. After college, Gregg started working at GSF in operations and has built his career with the company over the course of 25 consecutive years.
  5. During a contest among associates to name GSF Foundation's newsletter, Gregg suggested the winning idea of Heartline!