P.E.S.T. Relief International and the Florida Pest Management Association (FPMA) introduced a pilot program in Florida to provide pest control services and clean bedding for individuals requiring financial assistance.
P.E.S.T. Relief established its presence in Florida last spring through the REST Initiative: Making Orphanages and Shelters a Safe Place to Sleep. Through this initiative, pest management professionals furnished an apartment and beautified the grounds for residents at the homeless service Brevard Rescue Mission, a project initiated by Steve Lum, the former president of FPMA, and Allied Representative John Riley.
The new program, administered by FPMA Executive VP Leslie Herren, recruits P.E.S.T. Relief Responders who could serve individual families and expand the REST Initiative into the residential community.
The first P.E.S.T. Relief Responders to step up were Eric Hoffer with Hoffer Pest Solutions and Todd Barber of Barber’s Best Termite and Pest. Both men extended their services for bed bug remediation, while Mattress Safe donated mattress and box spring encasements.
Hoffer, current president of FPMA, came to the aid of a single mom and her daughter in South Florida whose school was forced to consider suspending the girl for fear of spreading bed bugs to other students. With the services that Hoffer provided, the daughter was able to stay in school. Hoffer says, “We feel very fortunate to have the ability to help those who need our services but may not be able to afford them. We are glad to be of service to the great community that allows us to prosper in business.”
Along the Panhandle, Barber treated a severely infested residence occupied by a family of six, with one of the children living with Level V cerebral palsy and a tracheotomy. Barber was contacted by the Florida Department of Children and Families because the infestation was so severe there was concern that bed bugs would crawl into the tracheal tube, causing lethal repercussions. Barber comments, “This was a severe infestation and will require three treatments. The family was very appreciative and worked hard to have the proper preparation completed before I arrived. It was very validating to volunteer and make an impact.”
These successful trials resulted in more responders joining the frontline in January at the FMPA Business & Operations Expo, with the goal that every FPMA region will have at least one P.E.S.T. Relief Responder.
“We are grateful for those who have given of their time to rescue the destitute and defenseless,” says Andrea Hancock, founder of P.E.S.T. Relief International and VP of Mattress Safe. “Together we are bringing hope, restoring dignity and enabling life transformation.”