Elkhart, Ind.-based Mid-City Supply hosted its annual holiday hog roasts in December that benefit both Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army. This year, Mid-City Supply served lunch to about 1,000 people (customers, reps, associates and friends) during the events held at the company’s branches in Michigan City, Warsaw, Plymouth, South Bend and Elkhart, Ind., and Galesburg and Jenison, Mich.

Mid-City Supply President Jeff New said this year’s events resulted in hundreds of toys being collected for Toys for Tots, 12 laundry baskets full of personal care items earmarked for the Salvation Army to distribute to local families in need, as well as monetary donations being made to both organizations.

“It’s amazing how many items we collect,” New told Supply House Times at the company’s event at its Elkhart, Ind., headquarters. “It’s a great week.”

The hog roasts have been held at Mid-City locations since 1993, starting at the South Bend location. “We decided to have a hog roast in December,” New said with a laugh. “Typically you have a hog roast in the middle of summer. It takes a real effort to have one in the middle of winter.”

The events have morphed into their current-day form where customers have the opportunity to network with Mid-City employees and reps from Mid-City suppliers. New said the Elkhart event had 30 manufacturers representatives in attendance.

“It’s our way of showing our appreciation for our customers,” he said. “It’s also a way for our customers to learn. They get to talk to our reps and learn about new products and ask about existing ones, Plus, they get to do it for a good cause. Some of our reps are with us every day at every branch. We get great support from our reps. This isn’t something where we’re offering special pricing. It’s a great exchange of info. The reps win, the customers win and Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army win.”

RT Vogt, chairman and CEO of Indianapolis-based Aspinall Associates (which is celebrating its 78th anniversary this year with the tagline “Still Great After 78”) was one of the manufacturers reps in attendance at the Elkhart event that drew close to 200 people. “In a very short period of time I can make more calls here than I would be able to make in two week’s time,” he explained. “We’re seeing their better customers here. It’s a value-added time to be able to talk to these guys who are out there in the field. We see such a good value that we try and hit as many of these events as we can.”