HOUSTON – Franklin Corporation entered the United Way of Northeast Mississippi competition with a food sculpture representing what it does best, by building a recliner that moves.
Companies across Northeast Mississippi were asked to contribute to the United Way “United Against Hunger” food drive to celebrate a record-breaking year and to provide food for local food pantries. Franklin Corp., joined the fun with its “food chair.”
“It really wasn’t that hard an idea for us to dream up,” said Terri Turner, Human Resources director at Franklin. “What is neat is our employees really got behind this and donated the time and the money we needed to buy the food and do this.”
The chair’s cushions were made our of crackers and the arms out of big 26-ounce chicken noodle soup cans. The chair was detailed with spoons and bowls. There was also a lamp made out of cornbread mix, Ritz crackers and more soup.
“We also had a can drive where our people brought non-perishable items,” said Turner. “It took us about two weeks to go from idea to product. It was a lot of fun and just about every department contributed something.”
Turner said all items and donations to build the food chair came from employees. She said it built morale and teamwork across the company and everyone realized it helped those in need.
“I am so proud of our employees for not only supporting United Way with payroll deductions, but also by coming together to do this project,” said Hassell Franklin, founder and CEO of Franklin Corp. “This really is a neat chair that shows a lot of craftsmanship and also reveals the heart of our employees to help others in this community.”
The Franklin food chair went up against 13 other companies that entered food sculptures in the contest. The food was dispensed to eight food pantries across the region.
Toyota would end up winning the competition with more than 2,000 packages of Ramen noodles, cans of tomato soup and a robotic arm.
Friday’s event doubled as this year’s Day of Caring in conjunction with the United Way’s celebration of its 2013 campaign. The United Way exceeded its goal of $2.4 million last year, earning more than it has in its 52-year service to the area.
Approximately 75 percent of United Way funding comes from payroll deductions and corporate pledges. As with other campaigns, 99 cents of every dollar raised at the event stays within the nonprofit’s seven-county area, composed of Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tishomingo and Union counties.
Locally, United Way allocated $102,350 to 32 agencies serving residents of Chickasaw County. Those agencies had initially requested more than $159,000 from Chickasaw County United Way donors this year.
Agencies receiving local United Way donations were; American Red Cross, Autism Center of Tupelo, CATCH Kids, COPES – CDF Charities Inc., EXCEL Inc., Faith Haven, Family Resource Center of NEMS, Gardner-Simons Home for Girls, Girls Scouts, Habitat for Humanity of Houston, Harden House, Hope Family Ministries, LIFE of Mississippi, Mission Okolona Food Pantry, NCADD, NMMC Camp Breathe EZZZE, NMMC Cancer Patient Fund, NMMC Diabetes Assistance Fund, NMMC Heart Patient Assistance Fund, NMMC Hospice Patient Assistance Fund, NMMC Social Work Patient Fund, North MS Kidney Foundation, Okolona Dollars for Scholars, Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic, Regional Rehabilitation Center, S.A.F.E., Sally Kate Winters Family Services, Salvation Army of Chickasaw County, Special Ed Bowling League, Survival Inc., Weston Reed Foundation and Women First.
United Way of Northeast Mississippi can be reaching by calling the Tupelo office at 662-841-9133 or the Chickasaw County number at 456-4234.