There’s no question that the effects of this pandemic will be hard-hitting and long-lasting. We can give up. Or we can dig in. To get through this challenge, we’ll need to rethink, restore, and rebuild. And we’ll need to continue to pull together as a company and a community.
At Perlo, we have a strong culture of connecting our people and our communities. We believe that by doubling down on our efforts to bring everyone together, we can find a way through. In short, we believe that by helping others, we all win.
Finding our purpose.
Gayland Looney, co-owner of Perlo, believes that the best way to face our fears is to identify our purpose. In his mind, there’s no better purpose than having the opportunity to help others.
Gayland shares a story of when he was suffered a badly broken ankle on a hunting trip in the Idaho wilderness a few years ago. He remembers the fear on everyone’s faces. But what he discovered was that if he gave each person a purpose – basically a simple task of helping – people started to relax.
“I think we all need a purpose in order to deal with our fears in a productive way,” Gayland offers. “By being able to put one foot in front of the other, we feel better.”
His idea is backed by scientific research. Helping others not only provides a sense of purpose, it lowers depression, regulates our emotions, and improves our overall emotional well-being.
Finding ways to help.
There are many things each of us can do to keep “putting one foot in front of the other.” Take, for example, a recent blood drive we held for the Red Cross. 27 brave Perlo volunteers stepped up to donate their blood, ringing in a grand total of 24 pints of blood collected. These efforts were not insignificant. In fact, this amount of blood translated to potentially 72 lives saved.
Another great example of pitching in to help was an effort led by our own Kimberly Wood, Director of Corporate Risk Management. Recognizing that crew members would have a hard time tracking down masks at the onset of the crisis, she took on the herculean task of launching a massive mask sewing project. She singlehandedly created mask kits that included ready-cut materials and how-to instructions. She then recruited co-workers, including Rebecca Cook, and even Perlo family members to join the team. This crew made close to 1,000 masks in one weekend. Since then, Rebecca has expanded the mask initiative and organized another crew to create even more masks. The net result is that “Project Mask” has created enough masks for all field workers as well as family members, partners, and even clients.
Crystal Bentley, Lead Assistant Project Manager at Perlo, launched her own initiative to help out. She grew vegetable starts and then gave them away for free to people in the community. As she shares, “Being able to grow your own food is empowering. I want to show others that you can grow food anywhere.”
Pulling together to help out doesn’t have to be a huge project. Everything counts – even the small efforts such as picking up groceries for elderly neighbors or making a donation to a local non-profit.
Inspiration from our Perlo partners.
We’re inspired by our partners who are stepping up to help out in really important ways. Here’s a peek at what some of them are doing.
A local food distributor, Alpine Foods, is filling a critical need and finding strategic ways to make a difference. Some of their community initiatives include donating food to Gleaners of Clackamas County, a non-profit that is committed to reducing hunger and waste by distributing food to low-income, senior, and disabled people throughout Clackamas County. Alpine Foods is also assisting with local school nutrition programs, supporting USDA box programs, and distributing sandwiches to the homeless in and around Portland. In addition, Alpine Foods is providing regular meals for their own internal teams.
Capstone Partners, headed up by Chris Nelson, has taken a proactive and hands-on approach to helping out where help is most needed. Chris and his Capstone team are providing immediate rent relief to his tenants, which include restaurants, shops, and other retail businesses that have been hit the hardest. This initiative provides actual rent forgiveness for a period of time to help tenants navigate their financial challenges.
Capstone has played a pivotal role in supporting United for Relief, an advocacy group comprised of business and real estate representatives that is seeking a “right to defer” rule that would stop lenders from declaring default for missed mortgage payments. Their efforts would go a long way to protect tenants during this COVID emergency. Ultimately, this rule would be a win/win for both tenants and landlords.
Stoller Family Estate
Stoller Family Estate, another Perlo partner, has gone above and beyond to reach out to vulnerable community members. They’re donating a considerable portion of sales from select wines to Meals on Wheels, an organization that has spent the past 50 years meeting the social and nutritional needs of older adults in the community.
Stoller has also launched a “Making a Case for Giving” initiative that’s a proceeds-matching program to help raise funds for non-profits in the area.
Spreading the Perlo net of support.
Every day we look for ways both big and small to build the fabric of our community. We’re supporting the efforts of Healing Arts Animal Care by loaning tall cones for signage to help safely treat animal patients outdoors. We’re continuing to provide resources to Parrott Creek Child & Family Services, a group dedicated to building stronger families and safer communities.
Perlo is contributing funds to Providence Cancer Center, along with personal donations from Gayland Looney and others, to ensure the center’s important work continues. When the center’s annual fundraising dinner had to be canceled due to COVID-19, we turned our sponsorship into a direct donation.
A big idea to help out.
To make a big difference, we’re looking at how we can create the most impact by focusing on what we do best, which of course, is to build. To capitalize on our strengths, we’re launching a new program called “#RebuildTogether.”
We’ll focus on our local restaurants through a hands-on sponsorship program. Our plan is to sponsor a total of ten local restaurants to help them through this time. They’ve been there for us, so we want to be there for them. Stay tuned for more updates on this “big idea.”
As a culture and a company, Perlo will continue to strengthen its purpose by fostering connections with our families, our co-workers, and our communities. As Gayland puts it, “There’s no better way to move forward than by reaching out and helping out.”