Leading the Way

Supplying classrooms with tools for learning

Partner Profile: Ruth’s Reusable Resources

Location: Portland, Maine

Mission: The mission of Ruth’s Reusable Resources is to ensure that Pre-K – 12th grade students and classrooms have the basic tools for learning, by transferring surplus business supplies and merchandise into the hands of school children through teachers.

Why does Unum support Ruth’s Reusable Resources?

Ruth’s mission aligns with Unum’s community mission on two fronts: sustainability and education. In addition to donating office supplies on a regular basis, employees volunteer at Ruth’s regularly to help with stocking, organizing and special projects.

“Ruth’s vision in assisting public education and youth is unparalleled,” said Steve Alpren, community relations specialist. “Getting supplies at a small price is so important, not only to the schools, but also families and teachers.”

How does Unum support Ruth’s?

This year marked the 10th annual partnership between Unum and Ruth’s to stuff more than 5,000 backpacks for students in need. Unum employees host a supply drive to collect grade level-appropriate supplies and backpacks. Then, over the course of two days, groups of employees form an assembly line in Ruth’s warehouse to stuff the backpacks and do preparation for the teacher store. The backpacks are then distributed to schools across the state of Maine with a significant free and reduced lunch student population.

“3R’s could not do what we do if the community and businesses didn’t donate their unwanted supplies, furniture and manufacturer cast-offs,” said Ruth Libby, CEO and founder. “Half of the $65 million of product we’ve given away in 23 years is because of donations of ‘stuff.’”

What impact has it had on Ruth’s?

From January 2007 through April 2017, Ruth’s has recycled 236 tons of paper, saving over 4,000 trees. During the 2016-2017 school year, Ruth’s gave away $3.6 million worth of product.

“Unum is, maybe unknowingly, a part of just about every classroom in Maine,” said Ruth. “Between students receiving thousands of backpacks to the thousands of pieces of furniture donated over the years, somewhere in every school there’s something that originated on a Unum desk!”

“Confidence in the classroom rises when you have the right supplies,” said Steve. “It’s even further enhanced when students know there are so many caring adults and businesses that want to see Maine’s future succeed.”

See more about the backpack project on WGME and WMTW.

Read more about Unum’s support of greener communities and education in the 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.

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