It all started with a simple sermon, “Whether you have fortune or not is only by God’s grace. As one who ‘has,’ give thanks to the Lord by serving those who ‘have not.’” It was a message that touched Hastings Puckett’s heart and he knew that he was being called to serve.
“After my son brought that sermon to me, we both felt a calling to start giving to those who are less fortunate,” said Richard Puckett, founder and board chairman of Puckett Machinery. “We began our service as a family working at Stewpot [Community Services]. Then we established a private foundation and began our own cooking operation as a way to give back to the community and work alongside organizations that serve vulnerable people day-in and day-out.”
And so, more than a decade ago, Puckett Serves was born. The service and philanthropic arm of Puckett Machinery, based in Flowood, Mississippi, began offering employees the opportunity to serve the needs of their local community with the full backing and support of the company’s leadership. Throughout its history, employees through Puckett Serves have given back through service projects, such as building a playground, tutoring local school children, to serving a delicious catfish lunch to children and staff at Canopy Children’s Solutions.
“Now that I’m working full-time, I’m not able to come and serve as much, but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me until I’ve worked a Puckett Serves project,” said Katie Ginn, who is the daughter of Richard Puckett and came to help serve during her lunch break.
“Christmas is our most active time of year for Puckett Serves,” said John Chesney, who serves as Director of Marketing for Puckett Machinery. “Employees from throughout our organization apply to be part of Puckett Serves and we take small groups all over the Jackson Metro area through the Puckett Serves initiative.”
This December 2019, Puckett Serves brought nine employees and additional volunteers, including family members of Puckett employees, to serve 150 meals to Canopy children and staff at the CARES School Jackson. The children served through the school were overjoyed to have volunteers come to visit and were most grateful for their time, efforts, and especially the delicious meal served with generosity and the a heart of service.
“Taking great joy in service to others is a core value that is shared by both the Puckett Machinery and Canopy families,” said Canopy CEO John D. Damon, Ph.D. “We see the needs of children and families in our communities every day and we are so grateful to have Puckett Serves embrace our mission and spend time with our kids this Christmas season. They don’t just enjoy the food, but also the heartfelt smiles and friendly interactions with the volunteers. When someone gives of their time specifically for our kids, they recognize the significance and it reminds them of their innate value and the good that exists in the world. That isn’t something we can replicate on our own, so we are most appreciative that they have selected Canopy as one of their locations to serve.”
“When employees are assigned to projects with Puckett Serves, we often place them at locations they haven’t been before just to expose more people to the wonderful work that is happening. It also helps them to understand and realize many of the needs within our local communities,” said Chesney. “It is a very rewarding experience for our team.”
Click here to see more photos from Puckett Serves’ visit to Canopy!