The Melaleuca Foundation supplied thousands of products to residents of British Columbia, Canada, who are still reeling from November’s catastrophic floods. Three Melaleuca Marketing Executives teamed up with a local charitable effort to distribute a variety of Melaleuca products provided by The Melaleuca Foundation.
On November 13, a storm system called an atmospheric river brought strong winds and torrential rains to the Fraser Valley in southwest British Columbia, an area already devastated by a heat dome and wildfires earlier this year. Flood waters and mudslides broke through a dike and engulfed homes and farms, displacing 18,000 people and drowning hundreds of thousands of livestock.
Shockingly, nearly 3 million people were cut off from the rest of the country as raging rivers washed away bridges, buckled highways and damaged rail lines. While the flood waters have mostly receded, families are still grappling with lost homes, lost farms, lost businesses and broken infrastructure isolating the area from the rest of Canada.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Executive Director 6 Laurie Proskin said. “Water was pouring down the mountains. Within hours of the evacuation order, some homes had seven feet of water in them. Even though our house was not in jeopardy, we were hurting for our friends and customers who were evacuated and flooded.”
Even those whose homes did not flood were affected by the devastation of the infrastructure. Canada’s largest port in Vancouver was cut off from the rest of the country. Residents of southwestern B.C. faced power outages, food shortages and no access to fuel. A month later, gasoline is still being rationed.
Working Together for a Good Cause
After the initial crisis had passed, many families were still without homes and had lost everything they owned right before the holiday season.
Leah Hemstreet of Chilliwack, BC, saw the intense need within her community and organized a charity drive to create Christmas Hampers to give to those in distress. Over the course of three weeks, she collected gift cards, toys, blankets and other donations and organized an event for distribution. “I had so much worry and sadness, and decided I needed to channel my energy to do something for these families in need,” Leah said.
When Director 5 Amanda Rushton learned about the Christmas Hamper project, she immediately volunteered. She asked members of her Melaleuca team, Laurie Proskin and Senior Director 5 Heather Woods, to help as well. Most donations came from individuals.
The Melaleuca Foundation has the distinction of being one of two businesses that contributed and the only U.S.-based business to give assistance. It donated $30,000 worth of products.
The Melaleuca Foundation sent a truck filled with of 500 of each of the following: Sol-U-Mel® 3-in-1 Cleaner, Sol-U-Mel Mixing Spray Bottle, MelaMagic Heavy Duty Wipes, Sol-U-Guard Botanical™ Convenience Wipes, Clean & Gleam™ 12x Floor Cleaner and Clean & Gleam Spray Mop.
Clean up after water damage is critical and time sensitive; there are no better products to tackle tough cleaning projects and combat mildew than Melaleuca’s EcoSense® products.
A Community Comes Together for Christmas
Volunteers spent hours baking food and assembling Christmas Hampers. On Sunday, December 19, anyone who had been affected by the flooding was welcome to pick up a Christmas Hamper and enjoy a sense of community.
“We had live music, a coffee truck, and Santa Claus,” Leah says. “Families had baked all day Saturday to fill the Christmas Hampers with fresh food. We had over 600 Hampers, and Melaleuca’s products were deeply appreciated. It was a heartwarming event for the whole community.”
“The event was so beautiful,” Heather says. “There was table after table of baskets wrapped in cellophane. The baskets had themes so families could choose what they needed. And there were tables of wrapped gifts for children of all ages.”
Heather passed out the Melaleuca products, instructing recipients on how to use them. Tears filled the eyes of recipients as Heather, Amanda, Leah and others filled car after car with the donated gifts.
“To everyone who contributes to The Melaleuca Foundation, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Heather said. “You have no idea the impact you’ve made.”
Over 600 Hampers were picked up at the charitable event on Sunday. Excess Christmas Hampers were sent to the neighboring town of Merritt, B.C., which was also greatly impacted by the flood.