Giving Back in a Time of Need - Hurricane Maria Humanitarian Crisis
5 companies lending a helping hand in the Puerto Rico humanitarian crisis
Nearly three weeks have passed since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. Since then, at least 43 people have died, 84 percent of the territory remains without power, 37 percent of its citizens don't have access to drinking water, over 6,000 people are held up in shelters, and there's a massive overall shortage of food everywhere, according to the New York Times. It will take years for Puerto Rico to emerge from the storm and pick itself back up, but there are dozens of organizations lending a hand in outreach efforts.
Governor Ricardo A. Rossello of Puerto Rico told The New York Times just how organizations could help in handling the humanitarian crisis.
"If we want to prevent, for example, a mass exodus, we have to take action," Governor Rossello said. "Congress, take note: Take action, permit Puerto Rico to have the necessary resources."
Who's helping Puerto Rico?
In a time of despair, local and national charities are pledging their support to aid the victims of Hurricane Maria. The following organizations are helping Puerto Rico in some shape or form:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency - Providing 200,000 meals a day to meet the needs of over 2 million people, according to The Guardian.
- United For Puerto Rico - An initiative seeking outreach to provide aid and support for the citizens of Puerto Rico.
- One American Appeal - A fundraising campaign seeking funds from donors to support relief efforts.
- Go Fund Me - Created a landing page to host all campaigns that are seeking relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria.
- Mercy Corps - Deployed a specialized emergency response team to Puerto Rico.
Other large organizations making outreach efforts include UNICEF, Center for Popular Democracy, International Medical Corps, Catholic Relief Services, Americares, Direct Relief, Save the Children and Global Giving.
How can your brand learn from this?
While most organizations are providing outreach efforts as selfless acts, they're also building brand awareness. Supporting a charity is a win-win situation. For the brand it gives a company a sense of authenticity while gaining marketing recognition, ultimately impacting brand reputation in a positive light. More importantly however, is the fact that these efforts (whether it be time or funding) can make a real impact on those affected by a crisis. It also boosts employees’ happiness, as that warm fuzzy feeling of making a positive impact on society is an increasingly important value in the workplace.
Natural disasters like Hurricane Maria impact all parts of the globe, and have no borders in terms of where support comes from. People all around the world have been reaching up their hands to help out Puerto Rico in this difficult time – a trend we hope and expect won’t end. This should be a lesson to companies and brands too. While it may be easier to deploy your resources and employees’ time to assist in a crisis that’s in your backyard, that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) help an area outside of your direct interest to your business objectives. In fact, it may even have a more genuine impact. PR professionals can drive initiatives at their own companies to spread positivity and aid to those in need.