In response to economic restrictions brought on by COVID-19, Republic Services launched a $20-million initiative to recognize its frontline employees in the field, their families and small business customers across the country, effectively killing two birds with one stone.
“Committed to Serve,” launched in the beginning of April, gives all of the recycler and waste hauler’s frontline employees two weekly meals, including one employee lunch and one weekly dinner for employees’ families, and bi-weekly $100 gift cards.
Republic Services has 28,000 frontline employees — drivers, technicians, etc. — including 240 based in West Michigan.
“Small businesses are often hit the hardest during times of uncertainty,” said Tom Mahoney, West Michigan general manager with Republic Services. “The ‘Committed to Serve’ initiative is a gesture of support for both our employees and our local small businesses, many of whom are our customers.”
Even though Republic Services has relationships with national organizations like chain restaurants and big hardware stores, the focus of the campaign is to help local small businesses, and employees who receive gift cards are encouraged to spend them locally.
“We want to reward our employees but also help our customers weather the storm,” Mahoney said.
All meals are purchased from local small businesses in Republic Services’ 41 states of operation to help support customers and the communities it serves.
To date, Republic Services has spent $50,000 with West Michigan restaurants including Rainbow Grill in Grandville and Hudsonville, Hudsonville Grill, Teddy Spaghetti’s in Muskegon, Lombardo’s Pizzeria in Muskegon, Stanz Cafe in Grand Haven, Wolfies Sandwiches in Zeeland, The Farmhouse Restaurant in Zeeland, Spectators Sports Bar and Grill in Saugatuck and Hog Wild BBQ Holland.
“The reaction from small business owners and employees has been pure appreciation. Additionally, our employees feel a sense of pride being able to give back to the local community they serve,” he said.
Republic Services also is donating $3 million to its charitable foundation to fund long-term nonprofits working to revitalize the places where employees live and work.
“Committed to Serve” is fully funded by Republic Services, and the program will continue to run through the end of May, Mahoney said.
Republic Services Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a national recycling and solid waste removal company operating in 41 states and Puerto Rico.