Despite a steady rainfall on Tuesday, April 3, more than eighty Publix employees showed up at 7:30 a.m. at the Arc Nature Coast center in Spring Hill to work outside sprucing up the grounds of the facility. They put in several hours work, taking breaks intermittently under canopies to get out of the rain. It was all part of the annual Day of Caring that Publix sponsors in conjunction with their Publix Serves program. The company launched Publix Serves in 2015 as its community program that unites its associates in community service efforts.
According to the corporate website, “Publix Serves empowers our associates, supports our communities and impacts countless nonprofit organizations throughout our operating area. As a company that’s committed to giving back, we’re excited to have more than 5,700 associates volunteering in the communities where we live and work.”
Stephanie McDowell, Assistant Store Manager at the Publix on Commercial Way in the Lakewood Plaza spearheaded the project and organized the volunteers. This is her second year heading up the Day of Caring project.
“I chose the Arc Nature Coast for this year’s project because some of the other store managers mentioned the organization. Employees from ten different stores in the area showed up,” Ms. McDowell stated.
When she met with Nancy Stubbs, Development Director of the Arc Nature Coast, to find out what the volunteers could do to help, Nancy suggested the cleanup work. The volunteers cleaned out flowerbeds, did some re-mulching and pruned trees. They also cleaned windows, tables, and counters inside the building.
“To have this many people volunteer their time is just so huge. It also gives us an opportunity to introduce the people we serve to people who have never been to our facility to learn more about us. It’s not just about what they’re doing on the grounds, but it’s an opportunity for more people to get to know us,” Ms. Stubbs remarked.
“In the past, Publix volunteers have helped out at the Neff Lake facility. They cleaned out the equestrian barn, cleaned out gutters and installed benches,” she continued.
Mark Barry, Executive Director of the Arc Nature Coast, commented, “We’re very grateful for the impact this project will have. Helping our people takes most of our resources, so cleaning our flowerbeds will have a big impact on the look of our grounds. The fact that Publix came out to help us with this conveys to our community that Publix values the Arc Nature Coast.”