As far back as Harold and Peter Sumerford can remember, J&M has held its Employee Appreciation Picnic each year without fail. The picnic was started by Harold Sumerford, Sr. and carried on by Harold, Jr. and Peter after taking leadership of J&M Tank Lines.
This year’s COVID-19 outbreak posed a serious threat to a tradition looked forward to by so many employees and their family members. As September drew closer and COVID-19 was still hanging around, the decision was made to rethink the 2020 Employee Appreciation Picnic.
To better protect the health and safety of all J&M family members and their loved ones, a virtual picnic option was created. While the comradery would be greatly missed as well as the delicious food… a virtual event was deemed the best option without cancelling all together.
The Sumerfords distributed a letter to all employees thanking them for their dedicated service and explaining the current health risk our traditional picnic would impose. The letter also explained the outline for the virtual option, to help keep some sense of normalcy and tradition.
Traditionally, the picnic takes place in mid-September, in tandem with National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. There are multiple picnics that take place across the different locations of J&M terminals and operations. All picnics take place on the same day, at the same times.
Employees and their families are invited to attend their location’s picnic, held on a Saturday, to enjoy home-cooked BBQ with all the fixings, comradery, multiple raffle drawings and several rounds of bingo.
A commemorative T-shirt is given out to all in attendance, in addition to the many prizes distributed to employees and their families. A health fair wellness check is also offered for all employees on J&M health insurance, with an additional raffle prize opportunity for those who participate.
The virtual picnic was designed to keep as many traditional picnic events as possible. This included providing each employee with a $50 VISA gift card to use with their families, a raffle drawing of traditional prizes and an additional raffle to replace the health fair raffle.
Each picnic location was given a time slot on the original Saturday date, for their raffle drawing, employees were able to watch via Facebook, but were not required to watch in order to win. All employees’ names were placed into a bucket and guest drawers helped to select the winners of each prize.
Winners were contacted the following Monday, regarding details on how to receive their prizes. Employees also received their gift cards that week to put towards a family experience, since the company was not able to gather.
The additional raffle created an opportunity for employees to have some fun while also entering to win a 65” SONY TV. Employees had the opportunity to take a photo of them and their family out using the gift card given to them and send it in to J&M by Sept. 30. These photos were used as a raffle ticket entry to win a 65” SONY TV. Winners were announced on Oct. 1 via Facebook video.
Overall, the virtual employee appreciation was a success! Providing each employee with an opportunity to win a prize through the raffle as well as spend time with their family at their leisure on J&M. While we greatly missed spending time with our employees and their families, we are happy to keep some tradition alive.
Congratulations to all of the winners from this year’s raffle! We are keeping our fingers crossed for next year!