One Man’s Packing Material Is Another Man’s…House?


Creativity and teamwork help DC 6083 associates make a difference in their community and beyond.


If you’re familiar with our distribution centers (DCs), you know there is usually leftover packing materials on hand. When products are shipped in, they are often braced with lumber to minimize damages—especially paper products—explains Augustine Zavala.


Augustine is the area manager at DC 6083 in Temple, Texas. He says they’ve recycled the lumber in all sorts of ways, including to build a haunted house for the DC’s families.


But with the increase in paper goods being purchased during the pandemic, so much packing lumber accumulated that it became a challenge. So, Augustine checked with his general manager, Ron Johnson, who gave him the OK to figure out a way to deal with the surplus.


Working Together

Augustine had noticed that the Habitat for Humanity in nearby Killeen, Texas, repaired veterans’ homes. As a veteran himself, he wondered if he could support their work.


“When I went to the website I saw that they take all types of donations, so I just asked if they wanted the lumber. And they said, emphatically, yes.”


Getting the lumber over to the charity required the combined skills and know-how of Augustine’s team. Habitat for Humanity had an old moving truck, not necessarily suited to transporting lumber. But Augustine worked with his lift driver, Steve Wilson, whose previous experience as a roughneck and supervisor in the oil fields had honed his practical problem-solving skills.


Together, Steve and Augustine came up with a system to assemble, stack and band the lumber. They started delivering the lumber to a grateful crew at Habitat for Humanity.


Domino Effect

Pretty soon, though, the lumber from DC 6038 continued its travels in support of a good cause.


When a series of hurricanes hit nearby Louisiana, Killeen’s Habitat for Humanity sent the lumber to sister organizations in Louisiana who needed it for post-hurricane rebuilding.


“You don’t always know the things you do will have much of an impact,” Augustine says, “until you realize later that, ‘Wow, I was able to help not just my local community, but someone else’s as well.’ I’m really happy about that.”


Whenever circumstances allow groups to gather once again, “I expect we will be rebuilding the haunted house, too.”


For now, Augustine will make sure leftover packing materials find new purpose in the service of others.