Sept. 5, 2017 – In an effort to ease the suffering of thousands of families displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Melaleuca sent thousands of its wellness and personal care products along with two truckloads full of food, and supplies to Houston, Texas.
Just hours after the hurricane struck, the Melaleuca Foundation donated thousands of Melaleuca products in support of the 9,000 evacuees staying in the American Red Cross’s largest shelter. Top officials at the American Red Cross specifically requested Melaleuca’s Attain, Access and Simply Fit bars and Sunshades Sunscreen to comfort the victims staying at the Houston Convention Center. The products were shipped from the company’s manufacturing plants in Idaho Falls and Knoxville, Tenn.
A few days later, Melaleuca organized a community food drive in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and received an overwhelming response from the community.
Melaleuca’s original intent was to fill an entire 53-foot trailer full of non-perishable food and supplies on Aug. 31 and immediately send it to the devastated Gulf Coast. However, donations from the community poured in so quickly that a second truck was needed to transport it all.
“It’s no secret that the people of Eastern Idaho are extremely charitable and giving,” Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said. “We knew they’d come through, but we had no idea the outpouring of generosity would be this incredible. We can’t thank them enough for coming to the aid of their neighbors suffering in Texas right now.”
From the moment the first empty truck parked at Melaleuca’s distribution center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, event organizers were inundated with a constant stream of donations from community members and Melaleuca employees. Melaleuca also contributed by adding a few pallets of cleaning products for good measure. Dozens of employees worked throughout the day to organize, box, and palletize the donations as well as load the trucks so they could get on the road as soon as possible.
The trucks arrived in Houston within hours of each other, and the supplies were immediately unloaded. Within hours of delivery, these supplies restocked 25 food pantries throughout the region and made it into the hands of people in need.
While our trucks were unloading, two U.S. Army soldiers approached our drivers. The soldiers explained they didn’t have a way of transporting 40 pallets of water bottles to the city of Beaumont, Texas, which was desperate for clean water after its water pumps failed due to flooding. Of course, Melaleuca welcomed the chance to work with the Army, delivering the supplies to an airfield. There, three Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and two Blackhawks carried the bottled water into the flooded town, where people remained stranded by the flood waters. One soldier said Melaleuca’s willingness to help out and get the water to the airfield so quickly saved lives!
Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Wilma struck Florida in 2005, less than two months after Katrina destroyed New Orleans. So far, Harvey has claimed 71 lives and has caused an estimated $70 billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Tens of thousands remain homeless and many are still in dire need of basic necessities and medical care.