If you have read my recent blog post about our transition from having our own distribution center in Grove City, Ohio to outsourcing to Professional Book Distributors Worldwide (PBD). If you haven’t read that blog post and are a customer of Augsburg Fortress, sparkhouse and/or Fortress Press, I urge you to do so as soon as possible!
There are many challenges and opportunities tied into this shift in place and processes. But, one opportunity that you might not have thought about is the missional opportunity it provides as we serve our neighbors, near and far!
In addition to our 24 foot high racks for inventory and other standard warehouse equipment, we have some offices, a conference room, and a lunchroom on site. Each of these has furniture that we will no longer need after the move to PBD. Our distribution center manager, Vickie Snider, found wonderful new homes for these furnishings! Here is the email I received from her a couple of days ago:
“We have made a free store/ community kitchen and a shelter for abused partners and children very happy. They could not afford anything like we had and were very excited to have the donations. I know they have been cleaning the areas where this “new” furniture will be placed.”
Thank you for coordinating these donations to these ministries, Vickie!
In addition, as we have been assessing the inventory we have and our future needs, we determined that based on sales history, we have excess inventory of some styles, colors and sizes of clergy shirts and blouses. In December, I contacted The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, Executive Director for the ELCA’s Global Mission unit and asked if they would be interested in a large donation of clergy shirts and blouses for donation to partner clergy in countries around the world where there is need, but not financial means for purchasing them. He quickly sent back an email that said “This is the best Christmas gift this year. I will take them all and work with our Area Program Directors for distribution globally.”
My colleague CFO John Rahja and Rafael’s colleague, Assistant to Executive Director, Global Mission, Sylvia Perez, have been working to make this happen. About 10 days ago, John shared with me that we have donated approximately 9,500 clergy shirts and blouses; about 5,000 men’s shirts and about 4,000 women’s blouses. The retail value of the shirts is approximately $400,000. Within two days of the shipment, we received an enthusiastic email from Sylvia saying “Clergy shirts have arrived with two boxes heading for Mozambique tomorrow for new ordained pastors!
As a business that is also a ministry, we are pleased to be able to join partners in ministry to donate these much needed resources to people in need.
Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO