Heather Hiten and her family often support the Shed for You community building in Freetown.
The 2020 Leadership Jackson County social concerns project team received a donation of a shed from T-Mobile, and it was placed along North Union Street in the middle of the small Jackson County community, giving people access to nonperishable food, personal hygiene items, paper products and other basic needs 24/7 and also allowing people a chance to drop off donations at any time.
Every time the Hitens fill the shed, though, the items are quickly gone.
One day recently, Heather took a picture of her 7-year-old son standing in the doorway to the shed and there was nothing on the shelves, and she sent that to her mother, Susan Hamblin.
“He understands that kids are going hungry because there’s no food in there,” Hamblin said of her grandson.
Hamblin thought she and her coworkers in the Walmart Transportation dispatch office in Seymour could spend the month of November collecting donations for the Shed for You. She shared the idea with General Transportation Manager Jason Bickham, and he agreed it would be a good project.
On Nov. 30, all of the items were placed in two trucks and delivered to the Shed for You. When the group arrived, the only items on the shelves were four canned goods and a box of opened spaghetti noodles. By the time they were done, the shed was full.
“Food is a necessity, and providing food for people is something that we can do that actually helps,” Hamblin said.
She was happy with the response of the dispatch office and truck drivers.
“The drivers would bring a whole box in, set it down and not say a word. They all did this just on their own accord,” she said. “Drivers are the most generous people. They are amazing. … I want people to realize that these Walmart drivers are contributing to the community. I’ve been with this company for 39 years, and this is family, and I want people to know what my family is doing.”
Nonperishable food, personal hygiene products and can openers were among the items donated.
“We had a lot of really good participation in a short amount of time,” Bickham said. “I think it has just been good to see the care that our associates have for their community. Especially during the holiday season, so many other people aren’t as blessed as we are, so I think that’s what I appreciate most for what they’ve done.”
Hamblin and Bickham know the project will make an impact on those receiving the donations.
“I just hope they can make their holiday season a little bit better and know what we here at Seymour Walmart did to help give back to the community,” Bickham said.
“And that we care about them,” Hamblin said. “Sometimes, people impoverished, they don’t realize that people really do care. They might not know them face to face, but they care.”
Bickham said he hopes this inspires his employees to think of other ways to make a difference in the future.
“I think it just kind of brings into perspective what the season is really about,” he said.