Hurricane Season Is Here: Insights into What Georgia Companies Do Best to Help Those in Need
Thursday, July 18th, 2019
Luckily Hurricane Barry’s flooding wasn’t as catastrophic as it might have been, but hurricane season and tropical disturbances are already keeping meteorologists busy as weather forecasters try to prepare us for potential impact, storm damage and flooding.
No one likes to think about what a tropical storm, tornado, or even full-fledged hurricane can do to spoil the joys of summer, but businesses can be thinking now about whether and how their team and their brand might support neighbors impacted by a future storm. goBeyondProfit members have been among the most generous in the South in not only giving back but taking care of those who have been impacted by natural disasters.
Just last fall, when Hurricane Michael swept through the Florida Panhandle and Southwest Georgia, a host of Georgia companies donated their time, talent and a plethora of items for those hurting, so they could survive the devastation.
Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, was the first hurricane to make a direct hit to Georgia since the 1890s. It brought more than 115 mph winds and more than $2.5 billion worth of damage to Georgia’s agriculture industry alone, according to experts at the University of Georgia.
While South Georgia residents still await delivery of federal disaster aid, goBeyondProfit members stepped up in recent months to offer a variety of support including:
Secure Records Solutions, a Thomasville-based information management company, equipped with chainsaws headed to Hawkinsville to assist in tree removal. They took up collections of dry goods and hygiene products for residents in Southwest Georgia and contributed funds for those struggling in the initial months after the devastation. Secure Records Solutions also provided free document shredding services to several healthcare services and facilities in the Florida panhandle that suffered damage.
In preparation for and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael, AT&T deployed support to first responders, businesses and residents with charging stations and other critical communications equipment so they could stay connected, assess damage and begin cleanup. AT&T made a $25,000 contribution to Second Harvest of South Georgia, the state’s second largest food bank that serves 26 counties from Sumter County to the Florida line. And AT&T employees donated 7,685 volunteer hours since January 2018 to aid victims of storms across the Southeast, including Hurricane Florence and Michael.
Aprio, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, collected critical supplies and distributed them to a variety of natural disaster sites dating back to the 2011 tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa, Ala., Hurricane Maria that swept through the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017 and Hurricane Michael last year. Today, Aprio is ready to collect critical products such as diapers, bottled water, bleach, pet supplies, sunscreen, tarps and bug repellent and can organize distribution to areas in need.
Team members from Columbus-based Synovus Financial Corp. immediately deployed after Hurricane Michael from their corporate security and facilities departments to sites in South Georgia to distribute water, gas-powered portable generators, lumber, carpentry tools, building supplies to aid local colleagues and residents with immediate cleanup efforts. Synovus employees also raised funds for colleagues with immediate needs in the impacted areas and for community-relief efforts. In Georgia counties declared disaster areas by FEMA, Synovus refunded fees incurred for use of non-Synovus ATMs, forgave late fees, provided opportunities for loan deferrals, suppressed feeds to credit bureaus and offered special consideration to customers who needed extensions on their income taxes.
These are just a few examples of how goBeyondProfit members step up when disaster strikes.
Is summer storm season an opportunity for your team to prepare to support the community? Giving back can range from collecting donations to partnering with your favorite community organization to feed and clothe displaced families to contributing your business expertise to help families and businesses rebuild.
More than 500 companies across Georgia have joined our business leader initiative, goBeyondProfit, during the past two years, pledging to give back in time and talent to serve others – during a natural disaster or not. Whatever outreach best fits your company, every Georgia business is invited to join.
For more business insights including “Practical Tips for Starting Your Company’s Outreach” and other informative content, visit the goBeyondProfit page here on Georgia CEO as well as www.goBeyondProfit.org.