Grand Appliance Continues its Tradition of Community Service Through the COVID Crisis

By Allyssa Baird, YSN

Given its long track record of helping others, it should come as no surprise that Grand Appliance and TV’s response to the pandemic, through its charitable Grand Foundation, has been just that: grand.

Seeing long lines of people in need of food, the company began by donating foundation funds to the Feeding America food banks in their markets. These included Gleaners Food Bank, Indianapolis, Ind.; River Bend Food Bank, Davenport, Iowa; Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin in Madison; Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin in Milwaukee; and Northern Illinois Food Bank in Lake County.

This week Grand donated a freezer to a life skills training group called the Roberti Culinary Pathway, part of the Roberti Community House (RCH) in Waukegan, Ill., which is preparing and distributing food to first responders, veterans, soup kitchens and shelters. Waukegan is very close to the company’s heart as it the birthplace of both Grand Appliance and owner Mark Reckling, and was the hometown of his father and his grandfather, who founded the business in 1930. Indeed, the BrandSource dealer still owns and operates it original Waukegan store.

Grand Appliance employee delivers freezer to the RCH to be used to store weekly meals.

The RCH’s culinary training program has been put on hold amid the health crisis, and the freezer will help the group cook and store additional meals for the community. Founder and Executive Director Maribeth Roberti expressed her gratitude to Reckling’s daughter Meagan Gauri, Executive Director of the Grand Foundation, in a note.

“Meagan, this is fantastic and honestly came at a time where the need is now,” she wrote. “The freezer arrived yesterday and I’m sure it will be packed with food several times a week. We are giving out over 850 meals a week through prepared meals from chefs, both meal boxes and daily lunches that we give out at RCH. We are working with CATCH — Community Action to Counter Hunger to work together to meet the challenge of identifying and providing food to those high-risk residents.”

Gauri said the RCH will also receive a Grand Foundation grant to help with its community relief work.

In addition, the foundation donated five new laptops and 100 coloring and activity books to the St. Augustine Home, part of the Little Sisters of the Poor senior living program. The laptops are being used by residents to video chat with their families, and the activity books provide a diversion during their isolation. Several Grand Appliance employees and their families also made and sent cards to cheer up the residents. Last year the St. Augustine Home was selected for the foundation’s Twelve Months of Giving program, which supports a different non-profit each month of the year.

For May, the Twelve Months of Giving has selected the Madison Reading Project in Madison, Wis., which distributes books to disadvantaged children. The group received a grant to purchase books to help engage kids during the pandemic, and is partnering with local foodbanks to distribute them during grocery pickups. “Books are a great respite in this trying time, especially for kids,” Gauri said.

The foundation also donated $600 to a local grassroots group called the Mask Brigade, part of a larger organization whose members have made 20,000 face masks for first responders, medical personnel, essential workers and anyone else in need.

Grand Appliance & TV does BrandSource proud through its acts of kindness and caring, which are carried out by the Grand Foundation — a community gift that keeps on giving.

BrandSource is a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc.