I have never been so proud to partner with local businesses, Texans, and organizations. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the one-two punch he threw Texas, businesses big and small are banding together to fight back. It’s as if they’re saying, “Let me be very clear, Harvey. You may have been strong. But we’re stronger.”
Countless businesses have stepped up to to shine light, love, and peace upon those affected by the storm and efforts to bring about relief. It is one of the most awesome displays of humanity I have ever seen in my 43 years on this Earth.
And while from a public relations stand point, it makes every bit sense for a business or organization to expose and demonstrate the core values deep at the heart of its brand in times of trouble, I don’t think the majority of businesses who are answering the community’s call for help care much about that.
Their response isn’t just a photo op. It’s much bigger than that.
Instead, it is about an organic need to contribute any way one can. Throughout Texas we have seen such beautiful acts from individuals, families, school districts, public officials, and the business community. And it’s not difficult to understand why businesses have acted.
This hurricane was personal.
Living in San Antonio, all the rain surrounding Harvey was initially tracked to hover over us, not Houston. When the path veered and we saw historic levels of flooding less than a hundred miles away, it was hard to think of anything else let alone be productive at our typical jobs doing things that at times felt incidental when so much and so many around us waited in need.
At least that’s how I felt. I know several of my clients echoed that same sentiment.
Many of us in San Antonio have family, homes, or bundles of fond memories in RockPort and Port Aransas, Texas, two areas hit hardest by Harvey. Many of us in South Texas visit Corpus’ beach areas, tourist spots, have family or friends who live there, or maybe went to school there. Many of us here, including me, have family in Houston whose texts about the creeping water kept us awake at night and in constant prayer.
Dr. Stephen Dinger, Pain Specialist at Advanced Pain Management and Rehab, has a family home in Port Aransas. He rushed to the coastal community to do everything he could to secure the house making it off the island just hours before Harvey made landfall.
When Dr. Dinger saw the first photos of just how cruel Harvey was to homes, restaurants and roadways along the coast, he and his staff knew they needed to do something to help. So the practice set up donation collection bins and in just a few days collected a truck full of non-perishable food, diapers, and baby formula.
“We’re physicians and caretakers. It’s who we are and what we do everyday here at Advanced Pain Management so it just felt right and very necessary to do something impactful,” Dr. Dinger said.
Dr. Dinger himself drove to the Food Bank in Corpus Christi, TX to deliver the donated items thanking his patients during his drive home.
Dr. Dinger wasn’t alone.
Savvy Media client, Dr. Annabelle Garcia of Sonterra Dermatology, contributed similarly by offering her Stone Oak clinic as a drop-off site for Hurricane Harvey Relief donations as well. Dr. Garcia, a mom of two, was intent on collecting what her office could for the San Antonio Food Bank and Texas Diaper Bank.
So many local businesses stepped up offering their offices as donation drop off sites which made donating that much easier for those who wanted to help but perhaps were too busy to do drive to their local food bank or large collection headquarters.
Another way some organizations have answered the call for help is by having clothing made where proceeds are donated to any number of relief funds. I personally purchased two ‘Viva Texas tees’ from Alamo City Moms Blog where proceeds benefit the Texas Diaper Bank. I also purchased a darling Love Our Texas Teachers tee from Bella’s Blessing Bins, a non-profit run by the most compassionate eleven-year-old girl ever with a heart the size of Texas. While her organization usually benefits San Antonio’s homeless community, Bella had Hurricane Harvey relief tees designed for teachers where proceeds go towards the purchase of school supplies for those along the coast.
Another SM client, Shooting For Success, also wanted to lend a hand, but in a way where the youth they serve might develop empathy, dedication, awareness, and leadership – a few of the team’s core values. The youth basketball team organized a field trip to the Texas Diaper Bank who had put out a passionate call for bodies to help unload, sort, and pack the numerous donations coming into its warehouses. It was hot. It was rather chaotic. Yet, these young athletes stepped in and up wherever an adult motioned them over to help.
Sybil Webb, a yoga and intuitive reader in San Antonio took a different approach to joining forces with relief efforts. After watching her husband and his buddy load up their personal fishing boat and head to Houston to help with rescue efforts, Sybil said she felt a need to respond on a prayerful level. Sybil, founder of SOUL Readings and Yoga based out of Alamo Heights, created a Yoga For A Cause class, raising over a hundred dollars. She donated 100-percent of money raised to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Fund. “I thought it was especially powerful to begin the class with a special dedication and intention for peace, love, and light to be placed upon those people and areas most affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said Webb. “You could feel the emotion in the studio.”
Holly Tucker, Country Artist and Season 4 The Voice Finalist and whose Dallas On Your Boots single is burning up Texas Radio and Spotify charts, is making her mark on relief efforts with a huge raffle planned a few weeks from now. Holly has decided to raffle off a Martin guitar which she plans on having signed by various Texas artists while on her Steel Tour in the coming weeks. Using her large Facebook and social media following and celebrity status, a lot like JJ Watt has done to fundraise millions of dollars so far in his Hurricane Harvey Relief Fundraiser, Holly hopes to wage a friendly competition among her fans all in the name of Hurricane Harvey relief.
This list of people, local businesses, celebrities, corporate giants and organizations who have answered Texas’ call for help and continue to respond to needs seems to grow nearly as large as the donations they’re offering. Verizon, Whataburger, Walgreens, Kroger, Google, Kendra Scott, Gallery Furniture, UPS, USAA, Randolf-Brooks Federal Credit Union, and Bill Miller BBQ are just a few of the places I am proud to know, shop at, or engage with in some way.
While it is excruciating to watch such devastation infringe upon our fellow neighbors’ homes, livelihood, and lives as they know it – creating disaster, mess, and despair – know this: There has been a new level of beauty to come out of Hurricane Harvey that can be seen for miles and felt even farther.
So please consider donating, volunteering, or doing whatever possible to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Please consider recognizing and utilizing these gracious businesses who have stepped up in the name of love, generosity, and community. And, please consider visiting Port Aransas, Rockport, Fulton, Corpus Christi and the greater Houston area in the months and years to come as the Texas coast rebuilds into something bigger, better, and more beautiful than ever.