Kudos to Staff and Supporters

As we look forward to 2019, Planet Aid would like to acknowledge our loyal supporters who helped us further our mission and make a difference in 2018. Together we saved 90 million pounds of textiles from wasteful disposal. The reuse and recycling of these resources yielded a multitude of benefits for the environment and for people.

We also want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our 270+ staff. Each one of them helped make 2018 a huge success. While we can't tell you about each and every one of them, we offer these examples of outstanding service from the past year to illustrate the kind of people that make up the Planet Aid team.

Johnny Stith, Maryland Driver

Johnny has been driving routes for Planet Aid for five years. He is a caring, courteous individual who is ready to help. His exemplary demeanor was recently brought to the fore through a letter received from an elderly woman he assisted.

Jose Delgado, Upstate New York Operations Manager

Jose, a five-year Planet Aid employee, has facilitated Planet Aid's partnership with IBERO, a dual-language human services agency that offers award-winning programs for children, youth, families, and individuals with developmental disabilities in Rochester, New York.

For the past five years, Jose has been a part of a November charitable event organized by IBERO and other local organizations to provide resources to people in need. Planet Aid's annual contribution to the event is to donate much-needed winter coats to help individuals withstand the harsh upstate New York winter.

Jose personally goes door-to-door asking for coat donations as well as recruiting volunteers to help out at the event. This year, Planet Aid received and donated over twice as many coats as last year, thanks to Jose's efforts, providing more than 850 people with needed outerwear. The past two years have been especially important as many of the new arrivals to the Rochester community are Puerto Rican refugees who fled the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Kim Lipfird, Ohio Administrative Assistant

You may have seen some of our recent posts regarding Kim, who has been with Planet Aid for more than a decade. She has led an outstanding effort to partner with and support the Go Home to Stay Home program at the Grafton Correctional Institution in Ohio. Now, thanks much to Kim's efforts, the inmates at Grafton are working to pay off their court fines by repainting Planet Aid bins.

Along with reducing the fines they owe, the work gives the inmates a sense of accomplishment and something to be proud of. Kim's work was recognized by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction at the yearly volunteer appreciation banquet held November 9, where she was recognized as volunteer of the year.

Rich Armstrong, Northern Ohio Operations Manager

Rich has been leading Planet Aid's operations in northern Ohio for the past four years. He is the kind of person who will go the extra yard without hesitation, often being the first one into the office and the last to leave.

This year, Rich spearheaded the incorporation of the two Planet Aid Ohio units, "not a small task," said Kai Nielsen, Planet Aid's Midwest Regional Manager. Rich worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth and easy transition for all employees and site hosts.

Rich leads by example and is a great inspiration to his team. Recently, a bin in Cleveland was the victim of overnight dumping, and Rich responded by going to the scene immediately himself to lead the cleanup and resolve the situation. Rich takes pride in being a good neighbor and in doing the right thing, and Planet Aid is proud to have him on board.

Michele Marchbanks, Maryland Administrative Assistant

Michele joined the Planet Aid team in September of 2017 and has since become a staple in the office. Without Michele, much would not get done. She maintains the office in a professional and courteous manner and always knows just where to find what you're looking for.

Michele is also the friendly voice of Planet Aid, answering numerous phone calls and inquires daily and ensuring that each individual is listened to and that their question or concern is addressed. She is consistent, helpful, and a wonderful addition to the Planet Aid team.

Chris LaRock, Rhode Island Donation Center Supervisor

Chris, a U.S. Army veteran, has been with Planet Aid since April of 2016. He and his service dog Taz are exemplar employees, always ready to help those donating at the center and to tell them about the Planet Aid mission.

The Rhode Island Donation Center has curbside pickup and Chris arranges to go to donors' homes to pick up their donations. He is the logistical wizard that makes this service a success for the community and for Planet Aid.

Keith Gregory, Southern New England's Operations Manager, said of Chris: "He's an employee in whom I have complete confidence. If there's an issue, he takes care of it."

Jessie Garcia, Kansas City Operations Center Staff

Jessie always strives to do his best, often completing work ahead of schedule while maintaining a high level of precision. He is the all-around handy man at the operations center, working to repair clothing carts, balers, or anything else that needs attention, along with attending to any welding that needs to be done.

Beyond his regular responsibilities, Jessie is always willing to lend a hand to whomever needs help. His skills are versatile, and sometimes he is refurbishing bins (which he does in three-quarters of the time it normally takes), and sometimes he is operating the baler. Whatever the job, Jessie gets it done.