Industry’s Response To Hurricane Harvey Picks Up Steam

As Houston and Southeast Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey, the now tropical storm has moved north, bringing torrential rain to the eastern edge of the state and into Louisiana. The promotional products industry’s efforts to support those affected by Harvey continue to grow, with more and more companies mobilizing to collect and deliver basic supplies to flood victims.
 
Houston-based supplier Hirsch Gift is coordinating receipt of shipments and handling deliveries to some of the temporary shelters. These specific products are requested:

  • New underwear
  • Cleaning products
  • Adult Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Pocket hand santizer
  • OTC medications, such as Tylenol, NyQuil, DayQuil, etc.
  • Infant items, such as diapers and baby wipes
  • Pillows and pillowcases
  • Zip-Loc bags
  • Factory-sealed water bottles
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • School backpacks
  • Non-perishable food items

Goods should be shipped in boxes clearly marked "Harvey Relief" to Hirsch Gift/Hurricane Relief, 5121 Ashbrook Dr., Houston, TX 77081, and include two packing lists of the items—one taped to the box and the other inside it. Delivery service in the Houston-area is limited and irregular at present, please check with your carrier for specifics. Items should be received by Friday, September 8.
 
Another growing group of suppliers, including PCNA, Origaudio, SimbaCal, Hit Promotional Products, The Magnet Group, Jetline, Prime Line, Starline, alphabroder, SnugZ USA and others, are coming forward with product donations of power banks, charging cables and tote bags, and are working together to collect and deliver the products to those in need in the Houston area next week. Additional donations are welcomed and encouraged. Product donation requests include, but are not limited, to:

  • Water bottles
  • Towels
  • Plush toys
  • Backpacks
  • Personal care items

If your company is able to donate products to the cause, please contact Jason Lucash at jason@origaudio.com or Casey Schecter at casey@simbacal.com as soon as possible. Shipments are requested to be received in the Dallas area between Friday and Sunday, and will be trucked to Houston early next week.

“It’s important for us to participate in these efforts,” said Steve Gelernter, national sales manager with PCNA. “Hopefully these products can help those affected by this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all in Texas.”

Massachusetts-based Charles River Apparel (CRA) is loading a company van with donations next week and driving it to Houston. The van is collecting further donations on its route, and rather than being driven home after making its delivery, will itself be donated to a local charity. Departing September 6, the van will stop at ASI in Trevose, Pennsylvania, before traveling through Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and New Orleans, Louisiana, arriving in Houston on September 9. Driving duties will be handled by CRA staff, trading off at stops along the way. Although the van will be full of products, space remains for small items like gift cards. Anyone along the van’s route interested in contributing can contact Rich Corvalan, Charles River Apparel’s vice president of sales, at rcorvalan@charlesriverapparel.com or 201-870-3793.

Barry and Debbie Lipsett of Charles River Apparel have also pledged a $10,000 donation to the Houston Food Bank, to be matched by ASI. CRA will also invite bids on social media for tickets to September 7’s New England Patriots/Kansas City Chiefs football game. All proceeds of the auction will go to the Houston Food Bank, with CRA matching the winning bid.

The RAC Business Recovery Fund (BRF) has been activated to support businesses located in counties that have been declared a state of disaster by the federal government. The fund can help replace lost equipment and supplies—computers, cell phones, office supplies, promotional products catalogs and samples—provide a work area, or give other assistance as needed to get a business up and running as soon as possible. Those in affected counties that need assistance can fill out the assessment here: http://www.regionalassociation.org/business-recovery-fund/brf-assistance. Donations can be made to the BRF here.

As the long-term effects of Hurricane Harvey play out over the coming days and weeks, the promotional products industry may experience more business closures and more requests for assistance. These notices and requests will be shared in a variety of ways, including through PPB Newslink, PPAI's Facebook page and Promo Connect.
 
Please watch for continued updates as they become available; share your stories on how your company or regional association is helping, as well. PPAI's headquarters in Irving, Texas, (about 250 miles north of Houston) is open to industry members displaced by the storm. The Association is offering its office space, phone, fax, wi-fi, copiers, restrooms and showers to allow industry members to continue business until their offices or home offices area available for occupancy. If your company was affected by the hurricane, please let the industry know what you need by emailing MYPPAI@ppai.org or calling 888-I-AM-PPAI, extension 3280.

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