Family Business gives back to those in need - Rosies

Family Business gives back to those in need

Tony, Jan & Karen from The Distributors

“I wanted to be involved with a charity that I could see, touch and make a visible difference.” Those are the words of The Distributors’ boss, Tony McIntosh, on why he decided to have his business support Rosies – Friends on the Street.

Tony grew up with strong family values and a supportive ethos to help those in need and had always supported a number of different charities over the years. But three years ago he decided to focus his attention on one or two charities rather than try to support everyone.

“As a keen cyclist, I often ride under the city expressway and continually observed a homeless man living and sleeping under the bridge. I started to get goodies from work and bought some clean and warm clothes for him to wear and I would drop them off while he was sleeping. “One day he was awake, so I stopped and had a chat with John. I asked how he was doing and how he was coping, and he said fine. Eventually, I established he was using Rosies – Friends on the Street and that was the moment I knew who I wanted to support.”

When he told his mother Jan McIntosh, and his sister Karen (who both work for the family business as Credit Controller and Warehouse Manager) about his plans, the two jumped at the chance to support Rosies by personally offering their assistance and friendship. “When we arrive at outreach in Logan, the smiles on people’s faces is enough to give you a warm fuzzy feeling of making a difference,” Karen said. “A small conversation, giving them something to eat and drink, a blanket to keep them warm, toiletries to make them feel more comfortable, is all they need to keep a tad positive and feel cared for. I truly feel blessed that I can make a small difference by being their friend and serving them some home comforts.” Jan agreed and said volunteering at the Logan outreach left you with a “beautiful but sad” feeling. “Some of the people there have got to recognise myself and my daughter and really look forward to having a chat with us as we serve them their food.”

The Distributors team

The independently owned and operated business, which was born from Tony’s spare room in 2003, with business partners Stewart Robertson, and Louis Filipetto, after the wholesaler he worked at was sold to a larger international company. The Distributors Brisbane is one of Australia’s largest confectionery, snack food, beverage, grocery and chilled wholesale distribution businesses and is located at Larapinta. It services more than 3000 customers through south east Queensland with a range of more than 5,500 products, and partners with more than 250 market-leading manufacturers including Cadbury, Nestle, Mars, Wrigley, Red Bull, Frucor, Unilever, Smiths, and Bundaberg.

Tony said he was fortunate to have a business that could compliment Rosies through the products it sold and distributed. “Donating and supporting Rosies gives me great pride and hopefully shows my employees and retailer partners the strong family ethos we possess as a business,” he said. The Distributors Brisbane help support Rosies in various ways including donating food items and grooming products, providing financial assistance on a monthly basis, numerous employees donate money from their wages on a fortnightly basis and the business matches those donations dollar for dollar. This all creates awareness of Rosies and their work via the sales team, staff and clients and continues to build a meaningful relationship between the two organisations.

Tony said some of The Distributors’ staff also volunteer at Rosies in hospitality vans or in community awareness initiatives. He said as Rosies receives “little to no government support”, it is primarily made up of volunteers and Rosies existence depended on businesses like his own to offer donations and assistance. “I support Rosies because my business can make a visible and notable difference,” he said. “I would certainly encourage any business or individual to support Rosies in any way they can.”

Jan said she “wouldn’t hesitate” to recommend other people to help with Rosies. “When we leave our destination after attending to all the people who are in need, it makes you feel you have done your small part in helping those less fortunate ones,” she said.

If you’d like more information on partnerships or ways to support Rosies – Friends on the Street please contact our Partnerships Manager.

– By Kate Schmidt