Tornadoes and severe weather unexpectedly caused catastrophic damage across several states during a night that many will never forget. That fateful night on Dec. 11, a swarm of tornadoes tore a path of destruction across six states in the Midwest and South, leaving houses ripped from foundations, cars flipped, lives lost, and many unaccounted for.
The state of Kentucky was hit the hardest, with the tornadoes’ devastation being the largest ever in the state’s history. These violent storms ripped trees from the ground, wiped out communities, and crumbled more than 1,000 properties. Even the sturdiest of structures of steel and brick were flattened by the twisters, one of which stayed on the ground for more than 200 miles.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said at a press briefing, “The level of devastation is unlike anything I have ever seen.” And with the holidays fast approaching, hundreds of people have been left without homes or jobs to return to.
Melaleuca Partners with American Red Cross to Provide Relief
Immediately after this catastrophic event was reported, Melaleuca reached out to its connections at the American Red Cross to see how it could help those who lost so much during a single night.
Several calls were made on our behalf to those on the ground and with intimate knowledge of the disaster zone. They told Melaleuca to hold tight with our relief supplies until the region’s needs were assessed, temporary shelters were stood up, and people were filling them.
A few days later, the American Red Cross reached out to Melaleuca after identifying their need for high quality, healthy snacks to add variety to the relief supplies already offered by local Midwest businesses. They wanted to offer shelter families healthy snacks, and they knew that Melaleuca products were the perfect way to do so.
In response to the American Red Cross’ request, Melaleuca employees at the distribution plant in Knoxville, Tennessee quickly packed and shipped 3,000 Simply Fit™ Bars to provide comfort to those staying in temporary shelters.
Melaleuca’s Simply Fit bars were then trucked to Calvert City, Kentucky, located only 30 minutes away from where the tornadoes were most devastating. Not only will Melaleuca products help families in Mayfield, Kentucky, which has been all over the news, but it will also supply relief to families staying in shelters throughout the surrounding region.
“Melaleuca’s partnership with the American Red Cross is invaluable,” said Nicole Sirak Irwin, regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Idaho and Montana. “Melaleuca’s dependability and agility when disaster strikes are an example to us all. We commend them for running to the rescue in this natural disaster and in so many other catastrophes as well as looking for ways to enhance lives. They constantly step up when needed.”
Responding to Natural Disasters
When disasters strike, Melaleuca is on-the-scene with food and supplies. It has responded to wildfires in California and Colorado; hurricanes across Florida, Texas, Louisiana and the Carolinas, tornadoes across the Midwest; floods in Michigan, storms scattered across the East Coast; and much more.
And the hand of relief doesn’t stop at borders. Simultaneous to this call for relief in Kentucky, Melaleuca loaded pallets of EcoSense® products destined for Canada to aid victims of the floods plaguing households throughout British Columbia. Roughly $30,000 in Melaleuca products were recently donated to help hundreds of families in need.
Earlier this year, the Melaleuca Foundation sponsored two emergency vehicles for the American Red Cross.
Melaleuca helped purchase a custom-built Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) that brings supplies to families suffering at the frontline of natural disasters, wherever that may be across the country. For this donation, Melaleuca’s logo is displayed on this important rescue vehicle.
The Melaleuca Foundation also assisted with the purchase of a specialized vehicle for the American Red Cross’ biomedical programs, which provide hospitals with lifesaving blood products among other things.
At the time, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said, “Melaleuca has worked closely with the American Red Cross over the years to relieve suffering and provide hope to those affected by natural disaster, emergency and catastrophe. These specialized vehicles will enhance the lives of people who are most in need and be a tremendous resource for the entire region as the American Red Cross continues to run to the rescue.”