On October 22, parents picking up their children from Afternoon Express encountered an unusual sight: a huge tractor trailer idling in front of the ECLC, and a swarm of Heathwood students unloading boxes of all shapes and sizes from the truck into the mini-gym.
The boxes contained household supplies ranging from brooms and gloves to cots and lanterns—a wide assortment of the things people need when they’ve been displaced from their homes or when they have to rebuild a household from scratch. They were all donated by Jarden Corporation, a consumer products company where Heathwood parent Brian Searfoss is a business unit head. The initial goal of the gift was to contribute to the Heathwood Helping Hands flood relief effort. But when Brian Searfoss reached out to fellow division heads at Jarden asking for donations, the response was so overwhelming that the gift became one to the whole Columbia community—including nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and Sistercare as well as the neighborhood relief effort along South Beltline.
When Brian and his wife Liisa realized the donation from Jarden was going to be so much bigger than they’d expected, Heathwood still seemed like the right place for it to be delivered. “Heathwood is in touch with so many organizations through its community service projects that we knew the school would have a good feel for what was needed where,” Liisa says.
Brian Searfoss knew the donation would be in good hands at Heathwood because he was impressed with the Heathwood Helping Hands parent volunteer group that had been formed in the immediate aftermath of the flood. But he was still impressed with the student volunteers whose hard work and ingenuity got the truck unloaded a lot more quickly than he expected. “I was excited to see how all the kids rallied together to unload the truck,” he says. “There was definitely a sense of community among them. Watching them reminded me of being on a Habitat for Humanity worksite, where there are not a lot of power tools, but things still get done because so many people are working together to help.”
Jarden’s generosity didn’t stop with that first truckload of supplies. A second shipment, including crockpots and other small appliances, arrived about a week after the first—as did a large donation of dinnerware from one of Liisa Searfoss’s grade school friends who is now president Pfaltzgraff.
On November 8, members of the Heathwood community, including Helping Hands volunteers and more than 20 Upper School students, gathered again at the mini-gym to assemble the donated supplies into packages for 50 families from the Heathwood and South Beltline communities who were impacted by the flood. The supplies that remain will soon be donated to other agencies.
“I feel fortunate to work for a company that provides everyday products that can help people rebuild,” Brian Searfoss says. “I knew Jarden would respond to our request for help, just as it did to support families impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The sheer volume of product our Jarden companies sent to South Carolina was incredibly generous.”
About Jarden: Jarden Corporation is a diversified, global consumer products company with a portfolio of over 120 trusted, authentic brands. Jarden’s record of strong financial performance and organic growth is supported by a focused operating culture coupled with value enhancing acquisitions and shareholder focused capital allocation. Jarden operates in three primary business segments through a number of well recognized brands, including: Branded Consumables: Ball®, Bee®, Bernardin®, Bicycle®, Billy Boy®, Crawford®, Diamond®, Envirocooler®, Fiona®, First Alert®, First Essentials®, Hoyle®, Kerr®, Lehigh®, Lifoam®, Lillo®, Loew-Cornell®, Mapa®, Millefiori®, NUK®, Pine Mountain®, Quickie®, Spontex®, Tigex®, Waddington, Yankee Candle® and YOU®; Outdoor Solutions: Abu Garcia®, AeroBed®, Berkley®, Campingaz® and Coleman®, Dalbello®, ExOfficio®, Fenwick®, Greys®, Gulp!®, Hardy®, Invicta®, Jostens®, K2®, Marker®, Marmot®, Mitchell®, Neff®, PENN®, Rawlings®, Shakespeare®, Squadra®, Stearns®, Stren®, Trilene®, Völkl® and Zoot®; and Consumer Solutions: Bionaire®, Breville®, Cadence®, Crock-Pot®, FoodSaver®, Health o meter®, Holmes®, Mr. Coffee®, Oster®, Patton®, Rainbow®, Rival®, Seal-a-Meal®, Sunbeam®, VillaWare® and White Mountain®. Headquartered in Florida, Jarden ranks #348 on the Fortune 500 and has over 35,000 employees worldwide. For further information about Jarden, please visit www.jarden.com.