Florence Facility Exemplifies the Millwood Mission

Our Florence, SC facility had a busy fiscal year of activities and outreach events. Chaplain Jeremy Plowden and Plant Manager Matt Rissman are always on the lookout for opportunities to serve their community, and many of the team members are also excited to participate. 
In September of last year, Florence held a cookout event for members of their community without homes in partnership with the local House of Hope shelter. Many team members attended in support, some of them bringing their own families along. 
In the end, they were able to provide over 60 people with a fish fry-style meal, face masks, hand sanitizer, hygiene items, socks, snacks and a Bible. 
“We also had a prayer booth set up for anyone that came along that decided they wanted someone to pray with them and let them know that in spite of everything that’s going on, someone still loves them,” Pastor Jeremy said of the event. “We thank God for Millwood allowing us the opportunity to do that.”
Last November, shortly after Thanksgiving, Florence held a food drive as part of a competition with other plants in the region. Todd Ard, second shift supervisor at Florence, and Pastor Jeremy located a local pantry collecting food for the holidays. As an incentive to bring in donations, team members were given a ticket per donated item for a drawing of weekly prizes. In the end, they were able to donate over 600 pounds of food to those in need.
“I was really encouraged by the way the team members thought about others at this time of year,” Rissman said.
This past spring, Florence was able to once again aid the community by donating lumber that the facility couldn’t use. The recipient of the donation was Pastor George Williams, who planned to use the donated wood to build an outbuilding at his church.
“With the cost through the roof, we really have to make use of every bit of lumber,” Rissman said. “However, we were able to find some OSB (oriented strand board) and 4x6 offcuts that we could not otherwise use.”
With the help of Millwood’s donation, construction on the outbuilding has been underway for several months now.
Most recently, Florence held a back-to-school event to help combat barriers to education experienced by their community. 
“One of the biggest problems plaguing South Carolina and the Florence community is the educational system,” Pastor Jeremy said. “We saw it as an opportunity where we could once again come along beside an organization and show them that Millwood is not just a company in the community, but that we also care about the community.”
The team partnered with the Glendale Community Association for the event, and with donations from team members and the rest of the Florence community, they were able to provide school supplies and prayer to over 65 local families. 
Management in Florence has also seen a major positive difference in the culture of the team over the past year. In addition to the wide variety of opportunities to help serve others, the difference comes down to the culture of trust that the facility is able to foster.
“The guys are able to be confident in the fact that someone cares about them,” Pastor Jeremy said. “They’re not in a situation that’s only concerned with what they produce, but also a level of compassion and someone wanting to see them succeed. Someone has their back, and someone is in their corner.”
As plant manager, Rissman reinforces the idea that team members come first.
“Outside of some of the bigger events, it also ties back to the little things and the support that we provide behind the scenes if people have a personal issue,” Rissman said. 
The efforts of the Florence team over the past year exemplify the servitude and love of Christ that Millwood hopes to instill in all its team members. Thank you to Pastor Jeremy, Matt Rissman and the entire team for their efforts and dedication to community outreach and building the kind of culture that Millwood can be proud of. 
Author: Jessica Chizmar