With a vision to create communities where everyone can thrive, Tanikka Watford Williams executive director with The Moore Wright Group is a force of hope and compassion. The Tumwater-based nonprofit organization helps others thrives through the distribution of goods. By partnering with major businesses like Walmart, Good360, Amazon and others, the donated items are distributed to other organizations, state agencies and individuals in need.
When the pandemic and subsequent wildfires hit, The Moore Wright Group went from providing direct services in 5 counties to 30 and from serving 25 organizations to a whopping 200 now. While the change in growth was unexpected, Tanikka took it all in stride. “I believe in purpose and everyone has a calling,” she says. “I feel like everything kind of aligned.”
The shift went beyond just serving more counties and organizations with drastic changes in what people need. To help, the disaster distribution quickly expanded and the partner list grew. “Because of COVID, people now know who we are,” says Tanikka. “We didn’t know this itsy bitsy program would become this monstrosity of everything. Companies from all over the world began calling with donations. That was a huge shift for us.” The group went from four pallets to four truckloads a week in donations. To date, they’ve helped over 500,000 families in Washington.
The donations include hygiene items, children’s toys, educational items, household goods, cleaning products and personal protective equipment. “I’ve been told that my biggest issue is I don’t see the massiveness of it all,” Tanikka says. “To me, it’s a drop in the bucket. I’ve sat back lately and been in awe of God that we are able to serve so many people when COVID hit. It didn’t feel like work and it all fell into place. It all keeps going and there’s still more things to do.”
And further expansion is part of Tanikka’s future plans. The Moore Wright Group is currently working on helping out-of-state organizations to connect with their area to take on similar projects in their communities. There are also plans to create a teacher’s closet for educators to get resources for their classrooms. “Everybody is trying to be creative with education right now,” she says. “We want to lift up our educators just like how we try to lift up our healthcare workers. We are always figuring out different ways to help.”
Another aspect of The Moore Wright Group is their Wearhouse and Logistics Academy. They partner with state agencies like Worksource as an eligible training provider and offer the classes separately. By using their space and goods, they train people to become Certified Production Technicians, Logistics Associates, Logistics Technicians and gain certifications for OSHA and forklift operation so they can get higher wage supply chain distribution jobs in as little as two weeks.
“We thought, how can we use this stuff to not just be stuff?” Tanikka says. “How can we use this stuff to help a domestic violence survivor focus on healing from abuse, let children in foster care know that someone is rooting for them or a veteran who is homeless feel stable so they can move past some things? We never wanted our organization to be about just the stuff but to be able to think outside of the box to help people change their lives forever and help build community where everyone can thrive.”
As a survivor of abuse, Tanikka is tenacious in helping others coming out of similar situations. Survivors can receive goods to meet their family’s immediate needs directly from The Moore Wright Group. Tanikka authored a book of her own experiences titled, “Restoring the Broken. Domestic Violence to the Love of Christ.” She uses it to help others and even printed and bound a copy to give to a woman placed with The Moore Wright Group for the community jobs program. “I wanted her to know I’ve been through it and let her know she could get passed all this,” says Tanikka.
Through their connections with local schools, tribes and many more, The Moore Wright Group gives access to meet the immediate, basic needs of so many in the community. The impacts are wide and it takes the help of wonderful Thurston County agencies such as Family Education Support Services to get goods in the hands of those in need and organizations like CHOICE Regional Health Network help spread the word.
“There’s so much going on in the world right now,” says Tanikka. “When COVID hit, we were this community thinking how can we help our neighbors? It was amazing to see, this spirit of we are in this together and now we are in this crux of a divide. As easy as it was for us to come together regardless of what anybody looks like or political thoughts, we all knew we were in a situation with COVID with potential loss and unsureness together. That time honestly has not changed. We still need to be in this together and love our neighbors regardless because we need love to win and our community to come together to thrive because if we can’t, then what happens to us all?”
The Moore Wright Group has an urgent need for a large warehouse space in Thurston County to continue to meet the growing needs of the community. They also are always seeking donations of funds or goods.
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