While Harvey’s winds and rain have passed, relief efforts continue in Southeast Texas, and promotional products industry businesses and professionals are supporting the effort by donating their time, money and products to those affected.

Houston-based supplier Hirsch Gift continues to coordinate receipt of shipments and handling deliveries to area shelters and relief efforts. Shelters are currently turning away clothing donations, with the exception of undergarments. Based on feedback Hirsch Gift has received, these are the items most needed:

  • Cleaning supplies—trash bags, respirator masks, rubber gloves, work gloves (for handling heavy duty materials), sponges, liquid household cleaners (especially mold control and other mold and mildew stain removers), laundry detergent, air freshener, five-gallon buckets, brooms and mops
  • School supplies—student backpacks, pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, pencils, markers, glue sticks and preschool games
  • First aid items—bandages and band-aids, Neosporin and OTC pain medicine (Tylenol, Aleve, Advil, etc.)
  • Toiletries—shampoo / conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes / toothpaste, soap, shaving cream and razors for men and women, new undergarments
  • Baby items—baby bottles and extra nipples, and baby wipes
  • Misc—Ziploc bags

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, so check with your carrier for specifics. Items should be received by Friday, September 8.

A group of 20 industry companies—including Magnet Group, Origaudio, Hirsch Gifts, SIMBA, PCNA, alphabroder, Starline, Hit Promotional Products, Jetline, Raining Rose, Inc., Imagen Brands, Kashwere, Swag Dog Promotions, Clients First, Geiger, Jornik, SnugZ USA, Aakron Line, Elite Image and BIC Graphic—have come forward with product donations and are working together to collect and deliver the products to those in need in the Houston area. The group has so far gathered commitments for 10,000 pre-charged powerbanks, 1,000 large duffels, 3,000 tote bags, 1,000 teddy bears, 1,000 solar chargers, 8,000 t-shirts, 5,000 hand sanitizers, 3,000 lip balms, 1,000 towels and more.

Supplies are being collected at SIMBA facilities in Hawkins, Texas, and are being trucked to Houston to be distributed by Hirsch Gift. The first truck full of supplies was delivered in Houston on Friday, and more trucks will depart this week.

“SIMBA really stepped up as the midway point for items shipped from suppliers across the country,” says Jason Lucash, CEO of Origaudio. “It’s great to see the industry combine their efforts because we can really make a difference in Houston.”

Casey Schechter, president of SIMBA, adds, “We’re all so busy, so it was awesome to see Jason [Lucash] get the ball rolling. It was great to see how many people jumped to help as quickly as they did.”

Fruit of the Loom has also donated apparel to Houston-area residents. The supplier is sending two semi-tractor trailers containing nearly one million pieces of clothing, including underwear, t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants.

Industry companies are finding other ways to step up as well. ArtWork Services USA in Columbia, Maryland, is offering companies in the affected area discounted rates on art, proofs, orders, catalog and website updates. For more information, contact ArtWork Services USA President Varshal Thakor at 443-283-3456 or varshal@artworkservicesusa.com.

Last week, attendees at the Arizona Promotional Products Association’s AzPPA Expo in Phoenix, and the SAGE Show in Irving, Texas, made cash donations to the Business Recovery Fund, which provides help replacing lost equipment and supplies, provides a work area, and gives other assistance as needed to get a business up and running as soon as possible. Those in the designated counties that need BRF assistance can fill out the assessment here: http://www.regionalassociation.org/business-recovery-fund/brf-assistance.

Businesses in a declared disaster area may also be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). More information on the SBA’s resources can be found here.

As the long-term effects of Hurricane Harvey continue to play out, the promotional products industry may experience more requests for assistance and more opportunities for those willing to help out. If your company was affected or is contributing to the recovery efforts through donations, let PPB Newslink know by emailing PPB@ppai.org