Giving Back to Our Neighbors

78 years is a long time. That’s how long Hays Service has been serving customers in Middle Georgia, since my grandfather first started Hays Heating and Plumbing Company in 1945. In that time, we’ve watched our region grow and been proud to see our company grow alongside it.

But a company doesn’t grow from within. Our success wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community—those neighbors, friends, and families who have relied on us throughout the years. It’s important to all of us that we be members of the communities we serve, and part of the responsibility of any member of a community is to give back.

Far too many of our region’s students go hungry during the evenings and weekends, only receiving healthy meals from their school’s breakfast and lunch programs. These aren’t students on the other side of the world, they’re right here in Macon, Forsyth, Jeffersonville, and surrounding areas. In other words, they’re our neighbors.

The BackPack Buddies Ministry, a project of Forest Hills United Methodist Church, provides food for more than 2,200 underprivileged students in 24 schools across Bibb, Monroe, and Twiggs counties. These students receive 15 child-friendly food items (4 drinks, 3 proteins, 3 fruits, 3 snacks, and 2 breakfast items) each Friday during the school year.

Additionally, the ministry provides a food pantry and a school supply/clothing closet at each participating school so that eligible students can get the supplies they need for school and food items to help provide for their families.

While a lot of the food provided as part of the ministry comes from the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank (MGCFB), the food bank can’t provide everything students need. That’s where Hays comes in.

While service has always been a part of our values, we’ve always wanted to do more. So, for the past three years, we’ve worked with our employees and customers to collect additional food items to donate to the ministry. Our customers have graciously donated food, hosted collection boxes, and given generous donations to support our efforts, and more than 80% of our employees have contributed, as well.

This year, we were beyond proud to deliver 11,356 food items to the BackPack Buddies Ministry, bringing our three-year total to more than 20,000 items!

Giving back is such a big part of being a good neighbor to the people who’ve helped us get to where we are. And giving back to those who need it the most, the children who make up our community’s future, is especially rewarding. Knowing that 100% of our gift goes directly to feeding kids who need it makes it all the more worthwhile.

It’s easy to ignore the challenges of others or to think they’re “someone else’s problem.” I want to say “Thank you!” to each and every member of the Hays Service family – employees and customers alike – who recognize that when it comes to the most vulnerable among us, their problems are our problems and have given of their time, energy, and money to help.

Scripture tells us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and truer words were never spoken. I am humbled by the generosity displayed in this year’s collection drive, and I’m excited to look ahead to next year’s efforts.

May you all be blessed,

Coach Cal

Hays Service employees or customers who are interested in participating in next year’s BackPack Buddies Ministry should contact Alyssa Mathews for details.