Missouri Rental Dealers lend a helping hand at The Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri.

Members of the Missouri Rental Dealers Association met last week to provide community service and financial contributions as part of their third annual charity tour. Rent-to-own associates from All American Rental and Sales and National TV Sales & Rental volunteered their time and donated a $1,000 check to The Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri.

MRDA participated in preparing meals for children in need as well as assembling disaster relief packages for several areas affected by the recent natural disasters around the world. In the past 20 years, Convoy of Hope has been active in 48 states by providing disaster response, conducting community outreach events, directing nutritional programs and sustainability projects. The organization has also brought help and hope to more than 114 countries.

“We had a great time with our teams.” says All American Rental’s Chief Operating Officer Macy Mitchell. “It was a pleasure to spend time contributing to the betterment of those in need.”

Click here to read more about The Convoy of Hope.

Click here to read more about the Missouri Dealers Association 2017 Annual Charity Tour.

Click here to see more photos of the Missouri Dealers Association 2017 Annual Charity Tour.

Meet Debriel Williams, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund.

Meet Debriel Williams, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 28 as one of the most intense hurricanes in U.S. history, spawning as many as 50 tornado warnings in the Houston area. The torrential rainfall caused record flooding. Williams’ home, where she, her family of 7, and their 2 dogs resided, was along Harvey’s destructive path.

Williams and her family initially decided to wait out what she thought was a heavy storm until she identified several rescue boats in the distance and was informed that the neighborhood would then be closed off due to rising water levels. At the time, she recalls the road outside their home had accumulated about two feet of water while it had reached waist-level in some parts of the neighborhood. Luckily, her parents, who live just outside of Houston, were able to pick up the children and get them to safety. Williams, on the other hand, had growing concerns about her pets and looters, so she, her partner, and oldest son stayed behind. “You hear about the crazy things people do during times like these and I just couldn’t leave my dogs,” says Williams. “They’re family too and we didn’t know what the outcome of Harvey was going to be.”

Williams and her family went nearly 10 days without electricity and lost of a lot of personal items including clothing, bedding, furniture, and electronics. Hurricane Harvey also happened to hit on the same day as Williams’ son’s birthday. “He was pretty affected by it,” shares Williams. “Honestly, we didn’t think it was going to be that bad. We thought maybe the lights would flicker on and off for a day at most, but it was totally opposite of what I expected. I’ve never experienced something like this.”

Williams and her family have relocated to an apartment and are currently on the road to recovery. “It’s a work in progress. Slowly but surely, we’re getting back to normalcy,” says Williams. “Working in rent-to-own, I’ve heard a lot of stories from our customers who have lost a great deal—I am blessed that I didn’t lose any family members to the hurricane. I really do greatly appreciate the help…I would not be where I am now, in my apartment, without the help of APRO members.”

For Debriel and others, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund is a bit of hope in a difficult situation. Join APRO in giving back by donating! Click here to donate online, or contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111

Regional managers from Aaron’s Inc. met this week to provide community service and financial contributions to the O’Donnell Heights Boys & Girls Club in Baltimore, Maryland. The company donated $28,000 worth of upgrades for the organization’s teen room along with volunteering time to patch up and paint the space.

“Just to see the kids smile is enough,” says Billy Hardison, regional manager of Aaron’s Baltimore. “To give high-risk youths the opportunity to come to a safe place to relax, have fun and just be a kid is the greatest reward.”

The O’Donnell Heights Boys & Girls Club services 50 to 60 kids on a daily basis and the teen room renovations will help bring more kids into the organization. “We had some couches and televisions, but now thanks to Aaron’s, kids will want to come spend time here,” says Matthew Death, vice president of corporate and business partnerships of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. “This is a complete wish list—a dream of what our youths want.”

The event marked the 24th refresh by Aaron’s in communities across the United States. Aaron’s community outreach project was recognized by local television station WJZ.

Click here to view the WJZ news story.

Tiger Cleek, John Cleek, Jr. and members of MRDA present $1,000 to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri.

Missouri Rental Dealers Association (MRDA) members met last week to provide community service and financial contributions as part of their third annual charity tour. Rent-to-own associates from Cleek’s Inc. dba Aaron’s Sales & Lease and Rent One volunteered their time and donated a $1,000 check to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

MRDA participated in The Food Bank’s Buddy Pack program that is designed to provide nutritious food over the weekend to children who rely on free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. Buddy Packs typically contain two ready-to-eat entrees, a fruit cup, cereal, shelf-stable milk and a nutritional bar. During the school year, the Buddy Pack program distributes food to 7,500 children in more than 150 schools each week.

“It’s always rewarding to give back to the community and help those in need,” says MRDA President John Cleek, Jr. “This is a great team building service project for our association and a chance to work together with associates from other companies.”

A member of Feeding America, The Food Bank is able to work with manufacturers, wholesalers, processors, growers, retailers and restaurants to secure donations and food at reduced costs. Because of these partnerships, they are able to turn every dollar into $21 worth of groceries. With the $1000 donation presented to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri they will be able to purchase $21,000 worth of groceries that will help feed thousands of those in need. 

Click here to read more about The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri.

Click here to read more about the Missouri Dealers Association 2017 Annual Charity Tour.

Click here to see more photos of the Missouri Dealers Association 2017 Annual Charity Tour.

 

Michael Norwood, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund.

Meet Michael Norwood, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Norwood and his family remained in their three-bedroom home in Orange, Texas, when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast.

Norwood’s fiancé has Pulmonary Fibrosis that requires daily oxygen therapy administered by a large at-home oxygen tank along with breathing machines and a number of medications. “It was just too hard to transport everything,” shares Norwood. “So, we decided to stay.”

Fortunately for the family, water levels reached just below their home and never made its way inside but it was the constant rainfall of Harvey’s aftermath that caused the most damage. “The roof caved in over two bedrooms and that caused leaks in all of the windows,” recalls Norwood. The family worked quickly to tarp the openings in the ceiling but the three feet of water surrounding the home started to move up the walls and mold developed in the two bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and window sills. The air conditioning is no longer working and with nowhere to go, the family has slept in the living room and the unaffected spare bedroom.

Prior to the storm, Norwood had canceled both homeowners and flood insurance to help fund medical treatments and travel for his fiancé that require doctor visits two-hours away in Houston, Texas. Additionally, FEMA has declined the family aid because although he paid cash for the home, the title is under his father’s name, technically making Norwood a renter and not a homeowner. “We don’t know what to do at this point,” says Norwood. “Looking at it now, I believe my home is at a total loss, but it’s all we have.”

For Michael and others, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund is a bit of hope in a difficult situation. Join APRO in giving back by donating! Click here to donate online, or contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111

Members of the Missouri Rental Dealers present Harvesters with $1000 donation.

Members of the Missouri Rental Dealers Association met in early October to provide community service and financial contributions as part of its third annual charity tour. Seventeen employees from Aaron’s, Central File and Rental City packed more than 750 backpacks for the organization’s BackSnack Program and presented the worthy cause with a donation of $1,000.

The Harvesters is a regional food bank serving 26 counties in northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas. Its BackSnack program provides a weekly backpack filled with nutritious food (water, fruit snacks, oatmeal, cereal, hummus, crackers, canned fruit and vegetables, stew, rice and beans) for schoolchildren to take home over the weekend. More than 100,000 children in the Harvesters’ service area receive free and reduced-price school meals during the week, and many of those are at risk of hunger on weekends.

MRDA presented a $1,000 donation that will help the worthy cause provide 3,000 meals for those in need. “Your generous donation is something to be proud of,” says Nancy Steinacker, Harvesters’ corporate engagement manager. “We appreciate your on-going support.”

Click here to read more about The Harvesters.

Click here to read more about the Missouri Dealers Association 2017 Annual Charity Tour.

Click here to see more photos of the Missouri Dealers Association 2017 Annual Charity Tour.

 

 

Rent-A-Center coworkers deliver donated furniture to Tarantino Properties

Rent-A-Center is teaming up with Tarantino Properties—a management firm offering low-rent apartments to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey—to furnish 44 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

“We have furnished all of the apartments to where they are now move-in ready so people can walk through the door with nothing but the clothes on their back,” says Jonathan Parks, vice president of logistics and distribution of Rent-A-Center. “As a former Houstonian, I am thrilled that we, as a company, are able to help in a dire time of need.”

Rent-A-Center also partnered with Caribbean Shipping services, as well as worked alongside hunger relief organization Hunger Fight, to ship 40,000 bottles of water and 30,000 meals to coworkers affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Hunger Fight is a Florida-based non-profit organization that provides nutritionally balanced meals to those in need.

Rent-A-Center is teams up with Tarantino Properties to furnish 44 one, two and three bedroom apartments.

“On behalf of all coworkers in Puerto Rico, muchas gracias,” says Efrain Maldonado, regional director of Rent-A-Center Puerto Rico. “Our coworkers truly appreciate that our company has continued to pay employees even when most of our stores were damaged and very few opened weeks later. Everywhere I go, I let people know what Rent-A-Center has done for me and my team. We live by our mission and our road to recovery has begun. As I tell my coworkers, one day at a time.”

Connie Murphy, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and a recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund

Meet Connie Murphy, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and a recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 28 as one of the most intense hurricanes in U.S. history, spawning as many as 50 tornado warnings in the Houston area. The torrential rainfall causing record flooding to the area. Murphy’s home, where she and her husband, Shannon, and their family of seven resided, was along Harvey’s destructive path.

“I woke up to the sound of heavy rain falling and got up to check the level of water outside,” Murphy recalls. “I was walking through the house and everything seemed fine so I went back to bed.” But Harvey dropped over 40 inches of rainfall and soon floodwaters made their way into the Murphy home. The Murphys had prepared for Harvey by stacking plastic-wrapped sandbags two-feet high around the perimeter of their house but after four hours of heavy rainfall the barricade didn’t stand a chance.

“My dad called to check on us, so I decided to get up again and as I made my way out of bed, my feet hit a very cold, drenched carpet. My dad could hear me gasp and whisper that there was water in my room,” Murphy remembers. “As I walked down the hall, my dad—on the phone—and I could hear water splashing a little louder. I started to quietly cry and he just kept saying ‘It’s okay, God will provide.’ The water levels had surpassed the threshold of our house and I realized I needed to wake the family up.”

Murphy and her family worked quickly to secure things inside and outside of the house. Their primary concern was their three grandchildren ages six-months to seven years. “The weather predications indicated the rain would only get worse and it was then that we decided we had to get the kids out,” Murphy says. “The water had reached knee level in our garage and there was no safe way to get our vehicles out. With no way out we waited, hoping the rain would stop.”

As the water rose, they turned off all breaker boxes in fear of being electrocuted and by 3 p.m. the water was already over four feet high. A family friend called to check on the Murphys and sent help. “My 18-year old son and one of the boys that came to our rescue each took one of my granddaughters while another young man took my six-month old grandson. My daughter, Erin, followed while my husband, son, son-in-law and myself stayed behind.”

Shortly after her grandchildren were rescued, the fire department came to the rest of the family’s rescue. “I remember a lady hugging me and saying, ‘you are safe now,’ and all I could do was cry.” Murphy was reunited with her family at the Baptist Church Shelter where they stayed for a week before returning to their home. “We lost everything to Harvey and did not have flood insurance,” Murphy says. “We have been working hard to get our house in order. It’s been a slow and stressful process but I’m so thankful we survived.”

Join APRO in giving back by donating to the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Click here to donate online, or contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111

Julio Gonzalez, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and a recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund

Meet Julio Gonzalez, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and a recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Gonzalez and his family remained in their home in Miami while most of south Florida evacuated as Hurricane Irma hit the Sunshine State on September 10.

“Irma was a very scary storm—I was terrified for my family,” says Gonzalez. “The winds were extremely powerful and caused most of the damage. The wood fence that surrounds our house collapsed on both sides and tiles from our roof were flying off by the dozen.”

Hurricane Irma was the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Gonzalez and his family were left for six days without power. “The aftermath of Irma was not easy.” Gonzalez says. “I don’t miss the cold meals and cold showers. I feel very fortunate that my family went unharmed and thanks to the Disaster Relief Fund we can rebuild. Thank you for taking care of my family during this situation.”

Join APRO in giving back by donating to the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Click here to donate online, or contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111

Robin Ivie-Gray, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and a recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund

Meet Robin Ivie-Gray, an employee in the rent-to-own industry and a recipient of aid from the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Robin shared her family’s experience with Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath as the flood waters made their way into her home. Like so many others in the Houston area at the time, she and her family were helpless against the rising waters that threatened so many homes and lives.

“Everything that I had been worrying about all day Sunday became a reality. My street and yard were completely covered in about 2 feet of water and the water was rising to the threshold of my doorway,” says Ivie-Gray. “I went into my garage and saw that we were already taking on water and immediately woke the family up and we all got in the garage trying to save what we could.”

Though Robin and her family escaped unharmed, their home still sustained significant damage. Fortunately, help came to them from neighbors, friends, and even strangers.

“As I pulled up to my house to begin the cleanup process a complete stranger and her kids asked if we needed help.  My neighbors and friends then began showing up to help get my house into a livable condition,” shares Ivie-Gray. “I am so proud and thankful to see how the community came together and helped my family and countless others who were affected by the hurricane.  All in all things were destroyed in my house but those things can all be replaced.”

Join APRO in giving back by donating to the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. Click here to donate online, or contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111