On Tuesday, August 8, when the compressor at United Food Bank’s main warehouse freezer broke down, it qualified as a catastrophe. The organization not only incurred an unexpected $10,000 repair bill, it also lost more than 21,000 pounds of vital frozen foods valued in excess of $38,000. Those foods also equated to about three weeks of food assistance to people in need throughout the East Valley and eastern Arizona.

teamworks worked with the United Food Bank team to turn this crisis into an opportunity to rally community support. We developed message points and prepped spokespersons, and alerted local TV, radio and print outlets, letting them know the situation, its impact and how their audiences could help. The story was covered in multiple newscasts that included on-site interviews with the President and CEO of United Food Bank and live reports from the warehouse site.

We followed up with the media the following Monday to let them know that enough donations had come in to handle the repair, which had been completed over the weekend. United Food Bank was ready to begin refilling the freezer, but needed additional help from the community to accomplish the task. The media responded with follow-up reports encouraging viewers, listeners and readers to help “fill the freezer” through their donations.

Ultimately, United Food Bank reached its goal and within two weeks of the breakdown, had restocked the freezer to meet the needs of its 220 partner agencies throughout its service areas.

The estimated value of the television coverage alone was more than $230,000.