SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – One of the biggest non-profits in the Ozarks is on the move. Hundreds of truckloads of supplies are rolling from Convoy of Hope’s old distribution center in Springfield to a new one in Republic.
“What’s cool about this distribution center is just how high we can go with the products. When you get in there and you see the product on top of the shelves, you realize how high that is. It is very high,” stated Ethan Forhetz, National Spokesperson for Convoy of Hope.
Convoy of Hope’s new center replaces its old warehouse on Patterson Avenue, located near Chestnut Expressway in east Springfield. The non-profit has called the facility home for more than 20 years. O’Reilly Automotive’s purchase of the property has allowed Convoy of Hope to pay for its new distribution center in full.
“Our days are about ten-to-twelve-hour days for our crews at both facilities- preparing trucks over there and here,” says Jeff Smethers, the Senior Director of Distribution at Convoy of Hope.
After being loaded, the trucks roll 15 miles to the new facility within Republic city limits (which, due to a political boundary overlap, has a Springfield address). By the time it’s said and done, about 200 of the semi trips will have been made.
“It has been a lot of hard work, but everybody has had a great attitude. Everybody is enjoying it and looking forward to the new opportunity in front of us. So, we are ready to go,” Smethers said.
The new facility, located off James River Freeway and Route MM, can hold about 15,000 pallets of supplies. That’s compared to about 4,500 at the Patterson facility. In addition to housing humanitarian relief supplies, it serves as the base for the organization’s disaster relief operations.
Convoy’s work isn’t slowing down for the move. In recent days, it has been shipping some supplies out as it juggles the transfer of goods between the buildings.
“It is disaster season, and you get the feeling that we are ramping up,” Forhetz said. “Last week was a busy week with Tennessee flooding, Haiti earthquake, the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis that is branching out and getting worse by the day it seems.”
They’re also keeping a close eye on the radar for storms brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We are always on our toes. our people are always monitoring on top of what the weather is and what might happen,” Forhetz stated.
Disasters and hard times will continue. Convoy of Hope says its new center will help it send more aid, quicker, where it’s needed.
Smethers stated, “We are blessed, and this organization has been blessed by many people and our whole organization is excited about the opportunity to go a lot further up than we have gone to this point.”
Convoy of Hope is planning a dedication ceremony on October 27th, capping off its latest project. At the same time, it’ll be breaking ground for its new global headquarters building on the same campus.