‘We have to take care of each other’

Organizations celebrate 30 years helping those in need

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 12, 2019

 Two Men and a Truck employees Dave Dodge, left, and Drake Bates-Gasior pick up MCREST materials from St. Lucy Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores March 3. The two organizations have partnered for 30 years.

Two Men and a Truck employees Dave Dodge, left, and Drake Bates-Gasior pick up MCREST materials from St. Lucy Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores March 3. The two organizations have partnered for 30 years.

Photo by Donna Agusti

MACOMB COUNTY — The partnership between two organizations helping those in need locally has reached 30 years. 

Two Men and a Truck and Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team, or MCREST, first teamed up in the late-1980s. 

“It started out that Two Men and a Truck would volunteer one Sunday a month and pick up all linens, guests personal belongings and mattresses and transport them from one church to the next church,” MCREST Executive Director April Fidler said.

Each week, one or two of over 70 churches in Macomb County hosts people in the program by providing a place to sleep, food, donated clothing, personal hygiene items, a place to shower and more.

Last year, Two Men and a Truck donated over $18,000 in moves to the shelter team. On a weekly basis, it provides free moving services for those in the MCREST program. 

“Our owners, Lisa Gaber and Connie Howe, decided MCREST was a great organization and we could easily help to support them,” said Terri Benson, Two Men and a Truck marketing coordinator.

Over the years, Fidler said that Two Men’s support has increased. 

“Thirty years later, they do every Sunday for us,” she said. “They move all the linens from church to church. It’s all donated.”

She added the change from once a month to every Sunday has made a difference, not just for MCREST volunteers, but for the guests.

“I think they are a great company and they instill the values in their employees of giving back,” Fidler said.   

Two Men and a Truck now donates two moves a week to relocate personal items and supplies of MCREST.

“We go and pick up all the belongings of the people in the program and move it to the next church who is hosting the following week,” Benson said.

Fidler said that the moving company is one of its largest partners, from a business standpoint.

“Not only do they do every Sunday, but I can call them on any given day and time and be able to ask how they can help out, whether it be moving a client into housing or a furniture delivery,” she said.  

Benson spoke about what giving back to the community means to the company and why it’s been involved with MCREST for 30 years.

“The culture in the company and all the franchises is that the community is important to us,” she said. “We are the movers who care. We believe in MCREST’s mission and the service it provides in Macomb County. We have to take care of each other.” 

Since MCREST is a nonprofit, Fidler said that having the support of Two Men and a Truck is vital.

“We’re always trying to find the dollars to secure for different programs to house our folks,” she said. ”If you were to move, what’s the cost every Sunday that our churches would have to go and rent a truck or pay for that service?” 

She described MCREST as an emergency shelter that houses around 60 guests on any given night. It is a 90-day program intended to provide shelter and was established in 1988. 

“MCREST provide all of the services that would get the person self-sufficient to be a productive person in society,” Fidler said. “The average length someone stays with us is 45 days.”  

When asked why she believes the partnership has lasted for so long, Fidler said Two Men’s philosophy is giving back to the community.

“Truly, they must love us, but I know they are helpers and want to give back,” she said. 

Founded and headquartered in Lansing, currently, there are more than 375 Two Men and a Truck locations and 2,900 trucks operating in 44 U.S. states in addition to Canada, Ireland and the U.K.