One CES Myrtle Beach employee has logged more than 130 hours of volunteer work
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — If you’re determined to do good, you will find a way. That’s exactly what one City Electric Supply (CES) employee did in South Carolina. CES Myrtle Beach Outside Sales Rep. Richard “Boo” Smith dedicated one lunch break a week to delivering food for Meals on Wheels. Since 2016, he has successfully logged over 130 hours of volunteer work and delivered almost 2,000 meals.
“When I moved to Myrtle Beach, I thought I should get involved,” Smith said. “I googled the contact info of the person in charge of our local Meals on Wheels, and they said I could try it out a few times to see how I liked it. They were just a few minutes away from CES Myrtle Beach, so everything just kind of fell into place.”
Smith has most certainly noticed the impact the ongoing pandemic has had on people in the community. Fortunately, he has been able to do his part to help — especially for the elderly people who weren’t able to safely get their own groceries. “This year, the number of people we’re delivering to has really increased,” Smith said, thinking back on his last four years of volunteer work. “Before, I might be delivering to five or six people. Now, it’s up to 11.”
Food is not the only request that volunteers like Smith answer. Many simply needed someone to talk to. “The people we help don’t receive many visitors or interact with people because of pre-existing conditions or age. Some don’t have a lot of family nearby to visit them, which is why Meals on Wheels is helping them in the first place,” he said. “Fortunately, a lot of people can get groceries delivered through apps, but a big part of the service we provide is a personal one. Even if I’m delivering meals to 11 people that day, I have to remember to slow down, listen to them, hear what they have to say. For some, this is the biggest part of their week.”
With his vast experience, it’s hard to imagine a time Smith was nervous about delivering food. But he still remembers feeling that way on his first trip. “I didn’t know where I was going or who I’d be helping, but once you do it the first time, you realize you’re doing something good. You might be out of your comfort zone, but that little bit of discomfort means the world to the person you’re helping.”
One goal Smith had in mind when he first started volunteering with Meals on Wheels four years ago was to give back one lunch break a week. At times, he was able to do all 52 weeks in a row. Other years, he was forced to do a little less. The point is that he always tried and continues to try to give back at least once a week. “Work doesn’t always stop,” he said. “As an outside sales rep, I might have to pull into someone’s driveway to send an email or send a quote in the middle of a delivery, but we all have the tools to lend a hand.”
For those interested in volunteering, Smith wants to tell them that there is always time to give back. “There’s time,” he said. “We all think we’re too busy to do more, but time will get freed up if you just look into it. If you care, you’ll make time for it. The best time for me was once a week on my lunch break. It doesn’t sound like much, but it has added up over the years.”
And he hasn’t been the only one putting in the time. “Meals on Wheels never missed a delivery,” Smith said. “Back in March, when everyone stopped, they didn’t. They figured out a safe way to do deliveries and did a great job communicating to the volunteers what we needed to do. This whole year, the organization has been on top of it, and it just feels great to be helping people during such a hard time.”
To make this even better, Smith has given back hundreds of dollars to his favorite charity through the CES Cares Dollars for Doers program. For every 10 hours of volunteer work he tracks at CESCares.Benevity.org, he receives $100 to donate to a charity of his choice.
“Take advantage of the money you can get from CES Cares. It’s a great program, and it’s kind of like doubling your investment. Not only are you investing the time to help a cause you care about, but CES is also donating money to that charity,” Smith said. “Really, it’s a small effort on our part to get money for a charity we believe in.”
CES Cares Social Impact Manager Karen Gray is thrilled to see Smith take full advantage of the Dollars for Doers program and encourages everyone to follow in his footsteps. “We created Dollars for Doers because we really wanted to empower people to make changes in the communities that they live in,” she said. “Richard Smith has clearly gone above and beyond every single year, but just 10 hours of your time could impact dozens of people in your own community.”
City Electric Supply was founded in 1951 by Tom Mackie in the United Kingdom and expanded to the United States in 1983. Today, CES employs more than 3,000 people in over 500 branches across the U.S.