David Massanelli, the owner of Pine Bluff’s Roberts Brothers Tire Service, thinks the time has arrived for local businesses to organize a charitable group.
“I’m looking at forming a club that would allow businesses to help charities throughout the year, not just on holidays,” Massanelli said. “I plan on getting started on making contacts in January.”
Massanelli figures a concerted effort would not only be beneficial to assorted community causes that depend on donations, but also to the stores and companies that he said are frequently “bombarded by charities.”
Massanelli said he isn’t aware of any merchants here who aren’t interested in helping others, but sometimes the press of aid requests can be excessive.
“I don’t mean that we’re not interested in doing what we can to help serve others, but we get asked for donations every month, non-stop,” he said. “Some months aren’t as good for business than others might be, and you wind up having to pick and choose what you can support with contributions at that time. We have school and sports groups, churches and even the police needing assistance at different times.”
Massanelli believes participating firms could put money into a common pool throughout the year, Representatives of participating businesses would communicate with one another and help in making joint decisions on what agencies or efforts would receive contributions at a given point.
“Some businesses do better than others at certain times, so a team effort on the businesses’ part might help us all,” he said. “Everyone involved in the group, which hasn’t been named yet, could help decide. All would have an equal vote.
Massanelli made a pair of $1,000 donations on behalf of Roberts Brothers on Thursday to the Salvation Army and the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter. He said his company is dedicated to helping “make the community better.”
“I just think that it would be great for the whole community if businesses could get organized in making a positive difference,” he said. “We all want good publicity for Pine Bluff. Something like this could help our image. People elsewhere need to know that a lot of people here want to do the right thing and help our city to grow.”
Massanelli believes such an alliance is only one of many projects needed to eventually strengthen the city’s reputation.
“You have to take baby steps sometimes,” he said. “But we’re ready to start. We’re ready to help out and see what happens.”