The President's Column
by Steve Weitekamp
The holiday season is upon us and 2015 will soon be a memory. At this time of year, many of us pause to consider our blessings and ways to help those less fortunate. Our Association members are a generous group who support numerous programs and charities, without a lot of fanfare, to help those in need. Movers work hard and it isn’t surprising that they are frequently the first to answer the call when someone needs help. October saw several CMSA fundraising events in support of our scholarship and charitable efforts. While attending the Monterey Bay Chapter Golf and Bocce event, I had the opportunity to speak with a retired member who has been doing something special in his community. He shared his story and asked if I would consider reaching out to several other movers to follow in his footsteps. This retired member had sold his business, but still had enthusiasm for our industry and the opportunity for movers to do good. In more than 30 years in the moving industry with its numerous challenges, this successful entrepreneur was still excited about helping people in a way that only someone with trucks, warehouses and access to the moving public can do.
Someone new to CMSA might visit our website calendar of events and assume that we have a lot of fun events, which is only a small part of the story. Our chapter fundraisers are the primary source of funding for our charitable activities. The first and foremost charity is our CMSA College and Vocational Scholarship program. It has awarded $849,000 in scholarships to young people within our Association enrolled in an undergraduate program or an accredited vocational school. If this was all that our membership was doing, we could sit back with pride knowing that we have the most successful scholarship program in our industry. But this is not enough for this group, not even close.
CMSA is also a strong supporter of Special Olympics of Southern California and Northern California, providing annual financial support to their programs. Additionally, CMSA members regularly provide storage and moving services for Special Olympics sports events and offices. This past year, we added the Chairman’s Choice Charity to our list of charities and Chairman Longo has selected this year’s charity as the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition to the board-approved $5,000 contribution, CMSA has put together a team to walk in one of the charity’s fundraising events with additional pledges already more than $5,000.
CMSA is also involved in charity programs that require the expertise and assets that movers can provide. More CMSA members are enrolled in the Move for Hunger program than any other state. Move for Hunger was started by a mover who understood that hungry people would benefit from the food shippers didn’t want to move. He established a program that has grown even beyond our industry. CMSA movers servicing military members and their families have brought Operation Homefront to our attention. The mission of Operation Homefront is to provide military members and their families relief during a crisis, recovery when needed and recognition for a life of sacrifice. An Operation Homefront representative attended our last convention and got the attention of the International Association of Movers. CMSA members throughout the state have generously responded to Operation Homefront’s requests over the last two years.
Individually, CMSA member companies support and participate in too many charities and service groups to mention them all here. That being said, several CMSA members are focusing their resources on having a positive impact on the lives of victims of domestic violence. A large member company is offering to relocate victims and their children to shelters at no charge. The retired mover mentioned in the opening paragraph has developed a program to provide furniture and home goods for women and children transitioning out of domestic violence shelter and group programs.
There are many people and organizations who deserve recognition for their individual efforts, far too many to list them in this column. Hopefully, they have received more satisfaction from the doing then any small recognition this column could hope to provide. Thanks to all for your continued support of your Association and its good works. Here’s to a joyous holiday season for all!
- CMSA Communicator