On August 25, 2017, a major Category 4 hurricane made landfall in southern Texas. The catastrophic winds and flooding created by Hurricane Harvey displaced tens of thousands of citizens from their homes throughout the state. As government officials, non-profits, communities, and corporations rallied relief efforts, things took another turn. Five days after Harvey hit, Hurricane Irma took form and struck Florida the morning of September 10.
Like Joshua Flatt, Alexander’s Mobility Services (0207), many Americans tuned in with empathetic hearts as news of the devastation flooded their televisions, radios, and social media. As Josh absorbed story after story, he started making some calls.
Those calls sparked a team effort between Alexander’s, The Dingman Group, and the Los Angeles Chargers, to host a food drive and deliver relief goods to hurricane victims. Through partners at Move For Hunger, Josh connected with the Houston Food Bank to compile a list of items the food bank needed.
As news about their efforts spread, the Los Angeles Football Club offered to help kick off another relief drive. Alexander’s initial goal to fill one trailer quickly expanded to two. In total, Alexander’s helped transfer over 60,000 pounds of goods to Texas hurricane victims.
“One of the neat things about Alexander’s and Atlas is our unique ability to get things from Point A to Point B. By stepping up and offering to donate our specialized resources to get things to hurricane victims, we gave people a chance to make a tangible difference, to help a community in need,” said Josh.
Several Atlas Agents shared Alexander’s reaction in the wake of the catastrophe. A-1 First Class Moving & Storage (2123) of Brooklyn, NY, InterWest Moving & Storage (0979) of Idaho Falls, Idaho, A-1 Moving & Storage (0087) of Jupiter, Fla., and Weleski Transfer (2151) of Tarentum, Penn., all took immediate action.
“I think people see all of the devastation and they want to do something, but they’re not sure what to do or how to do it. This gave them an avenue to take action,” said Lynn Thompson, Weleski Transfer (2151).
What started as an idea introduced by Concordia Lutheran Church resulted in a Weleski Transfer trailer full of relief goods. Local organizations and individuals began reaching out with donations as word spread of the initiative through local media. From two collection sites designated at local shopping centers, as well as the Welseki Transfer warehouse, Weleski helped transfer roughly 32,000 pounds of donations to Texas. From there, the church coordinated the distribution of the supplies to smaller Texas communities wrecked by the hurricane.
“We had a tremendous amount of help from the employees,” said Lynn. “They took time out of their days and lunches to help, as well as donate. It was a complete Weleski team effort.”
A-1 First Class teamed up with the New York Mets to deliver relief supplies collected at Citi Field. Donations were delivered to Mustard Seed, a community outreach organization in Fort Pierce, Fla., and the Houston Food Bank. InterWest Moving & Storage stepped up too, partnering with local charities to collect and deliver relief goods to Texas.
Eric Klause, A-1 Moving & Storage (0087) PVO, retrieved relief goods from donors, like Move For Hunger, in Connecticut and Georgia and delivered them to victims in Florida. Imlach Group (1130) and the American Legion collected donations from local communities in Southeast Michigan, and PVO Grant Imlach assembled a team to help unload the donations in Houston.
The list of agency activism in the aftermath of the disasters goes on. Employee family members took initiative too. When Josh’s five-year-old daughter, Harper, approached him wanting to help, he gave her an Alexander’s “kids” box, which she filled with food and a note to the people of Houston. Josh included a note as well, addressed to “the volunteer who finds this,” requesting a photo to share with Harper.
Following the delivery, Josh received a confirmation message and, to his surprise, photos of Harper’s box at the Houston Food Bank.
“It was truly special for me to be able to show our little girl that anyone – no matter how small – can make a difference if they try,” he said.