Sullivan Tires Collects 60k Pairs of Socks For the Homeless
Exec Was 'Blown Away' By Response
Sullivan Tire Co. Inc. recently collected and donated more than 60,000 pairs of socks to homeless shelters during its first-ever sock drive.
The most asked-for clothing item at homeless shelters are socks. So Sullivan Tire opened its 113 locations from Bangor, Maine, to Connecticut and collected socks from employees, customers, vendors and anyone else who wished to donate.
The drive was part of the Norwell, Mass.-based company’s’ 67th anniversary celebration.
All Sullivan Tire locations had a four-foot-tall box that people were encouraged to fill with socks. Employees emptied full boxes into bags and donated them to shelters, says Paul Sullivan, vice president of marketing for Sullivan Tire.
Even though the campaign has ended, many people are still donating socks.
And Sullivan says he was “blown away” by the response from employees at Sullivan Tire.
He says once the sock donation idea was presented, it was easy to get the ball rolling. This wasn’t the first time the dealership has given back, he adds.
Sullivan Tire throws a holiday party each year for the Boys and Girls Club in Brockton, Mass., and last year, the dealership helped raise $2 million for Wellspring Multi-Service Centers, a charity based in Hull, Mass., that provides food and adult and career education.
Sullivan says the dealership always does one charity project a year, at minimum.
“It's always important to say, ‘How are we going to recognize the less fortunate?” he says. “How are we going to help the communities in which we serve?’”
These campaigns positively impact the communities that Sullivan Tire is part of and also help train the company’s young management, he says.
Sullivan Tire employees get the opportunity to create campaigns and manage their ideas to completion. In doing so, they gain experience in event planning.
For example, each of Sullivan Tire’s locations had to send their sock donations to a central Sullivan Tire store, where they were repackaged and shipped out to the 20 different organizations, with each shipment containing thousands of socks.
“It’s all a part of the recipe,” says Sullivan. Giving back is “just as important as selling tires.” In fact, he believes the two should coexist with each other.
“These are the things that you need to be doing. It’s no different than creating revenue streams. Hitting goals? Hitting metrics? No. What’re you doing to help the communities?”
During the sock drive, Sullivan says he was astounded by the outpouring of support from the community and especially “young people,” who were more than ready to “pick up on their rallying cry” and participate.
“I’m just amazed at the amount of giving and generosity that people find in their hearts,” says Sullivan.