This type of outreach speaks to the hearts of the people involved. Obviously, something like this outreach only happens because a person like Sutton acts on an empathetic impulse to help, to be there for those less fortunate.
As much as the “heart” is a big component of Basket of Joy, I was impressed by the intelligence, planning and engineering that were a part of the effort.
One small example: Sutton has a spreadsheet that computes the number of fruit cartons of apples, grapefruit, pears, etc., needed based on the number of fruit baskets required. He also has computer generated diagrams that illustrate the workflow for each of the stations used to create the fruit baskets.
Of course, many other volunteers beyond Sutton and Gray have been instrumental as well.
Bill Frye, the former owner of Ringer and Son Brokerage in Denver, helped Sutton put together the logistics for the fruit during the first few years of the Basket of Joy. Since then, he has only missed one year of helping out, and that because of the flu.
Rick Dusenbery, formerly the lead produce receiver at Albertson’s distribution center, first volunteered to help with Basket of Joy in 1988.
Sutton says he has showed up early and stayed later every year since then. I saw Dusenbery manage a group in breaking down pallets and rebuilding each pallet with the right combination of fruit needed for each fruit basket assembly station.
Bob Rensink, vice president of operations for the Denver Mattress Factory, helped ready the facility for the annual Basket of Fruit assembly effort.
Without that company’s willingness to help, Sutton said the Basket of Joy would be building fruit baskets at old abandoned produce warehouses all over Denver.
Sutton, Gray, Frye, Dusenbery and others are the best examples I have seen in using both their hearts and heads to accomplish a great and selfless task.
I know many more industry leaders have also given their time and talents to communities across the country during the holiday season. We don’t hear enough about those stories.
For 2011, I hope that I can use my heart, head and hands in the same way that Sutton and so many others have blessed the Denver community.
Have you participated in the Basket of Joy program? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.