For the past 10 years, Westlake Ace has been a staunch supporter of The Salvation Army and has hosted an annual fan drive in the communities where it has stores. The fan drive started in a single store in Hutchinson, Kansas, where the store manager had a personal connection to the Salvation Army, and it has grown to 127 Westlake-owned stores across the U.S. In the past decade, the project has raised more than $650,000 to purchase more than 46,000 box fans to help those in need beat the summer heat.
“Service is one of our core values. The Fan Drive is just one of the many ways we help the communities we serve,” says Laura Byrne-Harris, vice president, merchandising and marketing for Westlake Ace. “The Ace Helpful Promise means much more than offering world-class service and products, it shows we are truly invested in the communities we serve, and what we do makes a difference.”
During three weeks in the month of June, customers can round up their purchases or donate any amount to the cause. Westlake uses the customer donations to provide fans at cost to local commands of The Salvation Army, and the company also donates 750 fans nationally. After the drive concludes, several Westlake stores across the U.S. host distribution events. In 2021, 800 fans in four hours were distributed at the Kansas City event alone.
Byrne-Harris says the program has grown quickly because the greater need in local communities but also because of the generosity of Westlake’s customers and hard work of the employees.
“Every year our customers and associates really come through during the Fan Drive. It’s great to see everyone in the communities unite to help each other out, especially when things have been difficult for many people in the past couple of years,” Byrne-Harris says. “The Salvation Army is seeing greater need this year due to rising costs of food and daily necessities. The success of the Fan Drive hinges on a lot of people coming together every year to make it happen. It simply couldn’t happen without our generous customers and the hard work our store managers and associates do to raise money at the register.”
In April at its annual luncheon, The Salvation Army of Western Missouri and Kansas honored Westlake Ace with the “Others Award”, which goes to an organization that is making an extraordinary difference in its community.
“The annual Others Award recognizes organizations that have exhibited extraordinary service on behalf of others,” Byrne-Harris says. “We are truly humbled by the honor and our partnership with The Salvation Army means a great deal to us. It speaks to who we are as a company and shows that the Helpful Promise extends far beyond the walls of our stores. It means making a positive impact on the lives of our friends, customers, and neighbors day in and day out.”
“The Westlake Ace Hardware family is a tremendous partner for The Salvation Army, and we take pride in the fact the fan drive started here in our community,” says Major Kelly Collins, The Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri Divisional Commander. “In the heat of summer, someone can truly benefit from a device as simple as a box fan. Those three-speed fans can do a great deal of good for a family looking to cut their energy bills while staying cool. And for a senior on a fixed income, it can be a real lifesaver.”
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