HBA Rallies Multiple Shipments of Donations for Hurricane Victims

Filed in Disaster Response, NAHB Cares by on October 18, 2017 0 Comments

Even though Hurricane Harvey’s path of destruction was roughly 1,500 miles away, that distance did not deter members of the HBA of Delaware from helping out with the recovery efforts.

Thanks to the generosity of area residents and the charitable services of Two Men and a Truck — not to mention a significant amount of coordination through the HBA leadership and its members — two 26-foot box trucks filled to max-load capacity with donations arrived in Texas earlier this week.

One of several storage units HBA members allocated for donation collection.

The trucks contained nearly 30,000 lbs. of nonperishable food, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, diapers, and pet food and supplies, all gathered through several donation drives and events hosted by local home builders and remodelers, as well as other businesses and schools.

“I don’t have any personal ties to [Texas], but while the hurricane made landfall and we were sitting at home watching all of the tragic reports, I knew we had to do something to help,” said Sunny Schmidt, general manager of the HBA of Delaware. “I didn’t know if we’d have any success, but after we put the word out to our members, everyone quickly came together.”

Several HBA members volunteered to host their own donation drives as well as designate their facilities as donation drop-off locations. Once collected, the items were then sent to the local Two Men and Truck branch where they were loaded and eventually shipped.

Mark Moore of Schell Brothers helps load a truck with donations collected as his office in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Coordinating the trucking service was relatively easy, as Schmidt had worked with Two Men and a Truck during a previous charity project. But without any contacts in the Houston area, identifying a shipping destination presented more of a challenge.

“At first, I had no idea where we were going to send the donations. It was actually my husband who said, ‘Why don’t you contact one of the home builder associations down there,’ and I was like, ‘Well, that’s a fantastic idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Duh,’” Schmidt said lightheartedly.

Schmidt searched a map of HBAs in Texas and emailed the Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association, located about 90 miles northwest of Houston. EO Rose Selman was thrilled to hear from Schmidt and more than happy to coordinate the donations on her end.

Selman reached out to some of her members and soon heard from the owner of a local McCoy’s Building Supplies, who agreed to allocate a portion of his warehouse to use as storage space. He also designated several of his forklifts and staff members to help unload the donations.

Selman has also been working closely with the Greater Houston Builders Association and other Texas HBAs to connect her with local agencies to help with distribution.

“Luckily, we didn’t see the worst of the storm [in College Station]. But there are thousands upon thousands in the Houston area who weren’t as lucky, and for many of them, these donations will be a tremendous blessing,” Selman said. “We’ve all been so overwhelmed by this display of generosity.”

Children from the Red Clay School District help load donated school supplies to be sent to Hurricane Irma victims.

The HBA of Delaware is also coordinating donations going to help victims of Hurricane Irma. When a local school superintendent in Delaware heard about what the HBA was doing for Texas, he asked Schmidt to help him coordinate a large donation of school supplies to Florida.

Coincidentally, just weeks prior to Hurricane Irma during NAHB’s Association Management Conference, Schmidt met Donna Barrett, the EO of the Charlotte-DeSoto BIA located just north of Fort Myers, Fla.

After the storm passed, Schmidt called Barrett, who told her that three schools in the DeSoto area had flooded and they would be eager to accept the donations. Through the collaborative efforts of the two HBAs, a truckload of school supplies is set to be delivered in early November.

“This relationship and the donation that came as a result would not have been possible without the support of our members, both here in our region and in other areas like Delaware,” Barrett said. “After experiencing a storm of that magnitude, it’s an overwhelming feeling to see so many people come together and support one another as we try to put the pieces back together. We feel so blessed.”

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