Self-Storage Operators Make Final Holiday Push for Annual Charitable Activities

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In the days leading up to Christmas, self-storage operators from around the world continued to push out their holiday charitable programs, while others began to report the results of their efforts.

Sherry Cole, owner of Storage Plus in Murfreesboro, Tenn., helped organize the collection of more than 1,500 bags and backpacks to be used by foster children. Cole partnered with Susan Woolsey of the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors with the goal of collecting bags for the 600 children in the Rutherford County foster-care system.

Many of the children are accustomed to carrying their belongings in trash bags or plastic grocery bags. “It is very degrading to walk into a new family, and you’re carrying your belongings in a garbage bag,” said Gina Jones, vice president of the Rutherford County Foster Parent Association, an organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for abused and neglected children and the foster families who care for them. “To have their own bag of possessions is very important to these kids. It gives them a sense of security and ownership.”

“We estimate that the community has collected more than 1,500 bags for the foster children,” Cole said. “The goal was 600. The additional bags will be used as new kids come in throughout the year.”

In the Hudson Valley area of New York, Guardian Self Storage collected 7,000 coats and jackets in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties during its annual clothing drive this fall. The Poughkeepsie, N.Y., facility also collected other winter garments including snow pants, hats, scarves, fleece items and boots.

Each year, the self-storage operator works with charitable organizations Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie, People’s Place in Kingston and the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region to distribute coats to those in need. About 2,000 coats were given away last month at the Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie. The organization runs more than 18 programs and services designed to meet the health, social, cultural, educational, training and recreational needs of the community. Coat giveaways were also held in several other communities.

In Phoenix, Uncle Bob’s Self Storage locations teamed with local charity Positive Impact to deliver holiday gifts and food items to students at Dunbar Elementary School. Most of the students attending the school live in a subsidized housing area and are eligible to participate in a free breakfast and lunch program. This is the third year Uncle Bob’s has worked with Positive Impact, an organization that has raised more than $1 million toward medical procedures, groceries and utility payments for struggling families.

Last year, the two companies donated 240 bags of toys and food to the school, and officials said they expected to exceed that number this year. To help fund the effort, Uncle Bob’s employees donated their company Christmas party and employee gifts. Items were delivered to the children on Dec. 20.

“The staff and students at Dunbar are great to work with and an important part of our community as well,” said Don Favreau, area manager of Uncle Bob’s Phoenix facilities. “Plus, the great people at Positive Impact make the event fun for all involved. Our staff truly enjoys being a part of it during the holidays.”

Uncle Bob’s is owned by Sovran Self Storage Inc., a real estate investment trust that acquires and manages self-storage facilities. The company operates more than 450 locations in 25 states including 10 in the Phoenix area.

In Canada, Apple Self Storage raised $6,695 for the ABLE (Access to Better Living and Employment) Network, a nonprofit that offers support services to young adults with intellectual disabilities. The company kicked off its campaign in September and donated $5 from every move-in it received at its 15 facilities through Nov. 30. The donation amount exceeded its goal of $6,000.

Staff members presented a check to the ABLE Network during an awards dinner in Toronto. Apple Self Storage also hoped to collect at least 300 pounds of food by Dec. 23 to distribute to local residents in need.

Apple’s 15 self-storage facilities are located throughout New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, Canada.

In the United Kingdom, Dainton Self Storage is trying to raise £5,000 before the end of the year to benefit Children’s Hospice South West, an organization that provides hospice care for children in southwestern England. The self-storage operator is providing free storage of Christmas gifts for a minimum £1 donation as well as selling moving boxes for £1 at each of its eight facilities. All proceeds will be given to the hospice group, company officials said.

“The company has been raising funds for Children’s Hospice South West throughout the year, and we wanted to champion this fantastic cause at a time when many people’s thoughts naturally turn to their families and children,” said Shaun Duncan, Dainton’s operations director.

“At times during the year, some of our children and families need very special care and Christmas is one such occasion,” added Naomi Dymond, the corporate partnerships fundraiser at Children’s Hospice South West. “Many parents feel overwhelmed by the competing demands they are juggling at this time—the round-the-clock needs of their child, the anticipation of brothers and sisters, and the challenge of preparing all the festive fare.”

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