Hurricane Florence is devastating South and North Carolina with historic and unprecedented flooding and the storm has claimed at least 32 lives. In the midst of this tragedy, businesses and communities are supporting one another with acts of generosity, kindness, and selflessness.
One of FEMA’s informal disaster monitoring tools, the Waffle House Index, is in use with Florence. The Georgia-based restaurant chain prides itself on having its 1,500 locations open 24/7, 365 days a year. They are primarily located in the South and Gulf Coast regions of the U.S. making them vulnerable to hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding.
A former FEMA administrator, Craig Fugate, created the Waffle House Index several years ago. “If a Waffle House is closed because there’s a disaster, it’s bad,” Fugate told NPR in 2016. “We call it red. If they’re open but have a limited menu, that’s yellow. If a Waffle House is open with a full menu, that’s green and everything’s good.”
A South Carolina woman who planned to ride out the storm because she couldn’t evacuate with her seven rescue dogs found a way out. Thanks to media reports about Christine Meinhold’s dilemma, strangers reached out on Facebook and created a crowdfunding campaign. That funded a rented truck that allowed her to reach her family in Tennessee.
One hundred senior citizens that were forced to evacuate arrived at a hotel in Fairburn, Georgia. They were greeted by note from the Fairburn Police Department welcoming them with open arms stating: “Welcome to Fairburn. We know you’ve already been through a lot and have a lot more to go through before it’s all over. We want to help in any way we can.”
The Bonefish Grill in North Charleston treated 100 fire officials, EMS and police officers in advance of the storm to a free dinner as a way of saying “Thank you for keeping us safe.”
- Home Depot and Lowe’s opened their command centers to track Florence and coordinate delivery of goods to the areas in its path.
- Anheuser-Busch sent more than 300,000 cans of drinking water in six truckloads to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. MillerCoors donated 80 pallets of water from its brewery in Virginia to American Red Cross shelters in the region.
- Amazon debuted a new Alexa donations feature, which enables customers to donate to the Red Cross by saying: “Alexa, donate to Hurricane Florence disaster relief.”
Quests and Actions (Q&A):
- Would you consider supporting the official GoFundMe Hurricane Florence Relief here, or other relief options listed here?
- People with disabilities, senior citizens, people with low incomes, and the homeless will be the hardest hit by Florence. How can you help the most vulnerable communities?
- U-Haul is offering 30 days free self-storage for those in path of Florence. What other creative solutions can businesses provide for evacuees at no cost?