Our Resilient Community
When a powerful hurricane rips through a neighborhood, it has the power to destroy nearly everything in its path. But even in the wake of 2017’s many devastating hurricanes, communities in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond persist, pushing forward despite hardship. Resilience like that can never be destroyed, especially within our Baker & Taylor family.
The 2017 hurricane season had the highest number of major hurricanes in over a decade. In the Houston area, history was made by Hurricane Harvey after an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain water was dumped over Texas in August, causing extreme flooding and earning a reputation as one of the most costly storms on record. Only a few weeks later, Hurricane Irma tore through the Southeast, hitting Florida especially hard, with category five winds, leaving many in the U.S. without power, water and shelter. Hurricane Maria followed shortly after, destroying Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands with category five winds and is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record for the region.
In Commerce, Georgia, where one of our service centers is located, many team members were hit hard by Hurricane Irma. Mari Beth Woodruff, a copy cataloger in Commerce, was without power for six days after the hurricane hit. Without power, Woodruff, who’s a single mother to four kids, lost all the food in their refrigerator and freezer. Annette Walker and Audrey Pittman also work in the Commerce service center and were affected by Hurricane Irma. Walker’s car was trapped under a tree and destroyed, while Pittman had structural damage to her home. In all three cases, the Baker & Taylor Foundation helped them get back on their feet. Rebuilding from a hurricane takes years. There’s no magic wand to repair all the damage, but with each patched roof and power line restored, we can help our fellow Baker & Taylor community members feel at home once again.
Second Harvest Food Bank Volunteer Event
Second Harvest provides food for over 700 partner agencies including soup kitchens like Urban Ministries, emergency pantries like Loaves and Fishes, homeless shelters like the Uptown Men’s Shelter and Center of Hope, senior programs, and low-income daycares. Volunteers help to inspect and sort food or non-food products that will be boxed and distributed to their partner agencies. One hour of your time provides Second Harvest with $21.88 in labor savings. Last year, over 40,000 volunteers donated 162,000 hours and there is still more work to be done! Their annual savings with volunteers equals $3.5 million dollars! These savings are dollars that are used to feed more hungry people.
The B&T Foundation Committee coordinated a volunteer event at Second Harvest on May 16, 2017. We had nine employees that participated. It was a fantastic volunteer experience and team-building exercise for everyone that allowed us to give back to the community.