Brands are stepping in for Hurricane Harvey relief

It's been a hell of a week with Hurricane Harvey destroying large parts of Texas and flooding others. 

Some important things to realize:

  • This could be the costliest Hurricane ever with an estimated price tag of $190 Billion. To put it in perspective, Hurricane Katrina cost $49.8 Billion.
  • 53 counties were affected, around 11 million people, which is 46% of the Texas population.
  • South Texas received 19 trillion gallons of rain in the span of a few days. 

I live and work in Houston, so this past week has affected friends and coworkers. Thankfully, a lot of them were not significantly affected by the flooding, tornadoes, and storm. However, there are over 9,000 evacuees and many more displaced and needing help.

Some people I know were rescued on rooftops. Others were evacuated by boat. The week has been hectic, tiring, and stressful for everyone affected.

And while all of this is going on, people are stepping up to help. There are lines outside of shelters not for help, but to volunteer. People are pledging their support from New York. Mexico offered to help. The Cajun Navy came to the rescue.

Brands are stepping in to help out victims

Brands large and small are stepping in with company-wide efforts to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. 

  • HEB trucks were lined up outside the city to begin serving meals. Each truck is capable of serving over 6000 meals per day.
  • Waffle House stayed open to support first responders. My boyfriend's company has set up a fund to help employees affected by the storm.
  • Gallery Furniture has made it a hallmark of their business to step in when people need help. They opened their doors to shelter people affected.
  • A 2nd Cup, usually dedicated to fighting human trafficking, is organizing volunteers and raising money for relief.

Even more companies are sending or offering aid to those affected.There will be more work to do in the coming weeks in months, especially with FEMA estimating they will be in Texas for years.

And some brands increased prices

Memorably, there have been the brands and companies that decided to raise prices in response to a crisis. While the companies have responded saying there were "pricing errors" it still was a striking moment.

While I didn't witness it, I did hear through other people experiencing the flood that some tow truck drivers were charging around $600 for a tow. That even some people with boats were charging people to be rescued.

In times of crisis, it's important for everyone to step up and help

This is the moment that people will remember when someone stepped in to help them. It's a time to drop what you're doing and lend a hand or a dollar where you can. For ways that you can contribute, see here.

The contribution doesn't have to be large.

Companies large a small, from individual creators to larger corporations, have found different ways to offer aid. It can be a volunteer outing, donations, or offering shelter to people in need. It can be as simple as showing your own employees that you care about their well being and will be there to help them get back on track.

Brands have the opportunity to make a difference.

A brand can bring people together and organize relief that may be difficult to achieve at the individual level. Take this time to really show people what your brand stands for by contributing.

Don't help looking for a quick soundbite.

Real people have been affected. People have lost their homes, businesses, and friends. People are still missing. Help to genuinely make a difference, not to just look good.

There's a lot of work to be done. I will be out and about for the next few weeks - out of town and then returning to help out friends. See how you can also make a difference in the lives of people affected.

How can you do your part as a business or individual to offer aid?