This year’s hurricane season has so far left 75 dead and dealt an estimated $200 billion blow to the United States, with economists predicting another $20 billion in lost economic output from the two most recent storms, Harvey and Irma.
Along the Texas coast, Harvey alone represented one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
It’s clear that recovery will be long, hard, and costly, both in Texas and Florida, but also in the Caribbean. And San Antonio’s depth of caring, from all sectors and walks of life, can barely be tallied.
On Tuesday, Rick Cavender, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County chairman and president of Cavender Audi, announced a $300,000 donation to benefit Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
“We are humbled and inspired by the people of South Texas and our coastal regions, and we appreciate our donors’ generosity, thoughts, prayers, labor, resources, encouragement, and heroism,” Cavender stated.
Also on Tuesday, children and families met in a school parking lot in Balcones Heights to drop off food donations – bags and bags of canned goods and other items filled the bed of a pickup truck bound for a food pantry in the devastated town of Rockport. Some children had even requested food donations in lieu of gifts and toys at their recent birthday parties.
That’s one of countless examples of how gifts of all sizes continue to roll in – even as the federal government has approved $7.9 billion in recovery spending, promised that there is more to come.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, corporate donations totaled $160 million, according to a CNN Money report on Sept. 15.
The San Antonio corporate community has pledged millions in cash and provided employee matching fund programs.
H-E-B’s total giving to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts is approaching $3 million in monetary commitments, support of emergency shelters across the state, Food Bank donations, volunteers and the deployment of H-E-B’s Mobile Kitchens and Disaster Relief Units. H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt donated $5 million of his personal money to a fund run by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
Corporate giving has also extended to extraordinary support for employees in the affected regions.
NuStar Energy, for example, awarded grants totaling nearly $60,000 to help its employees in all of the impacted areas where the company operates, from the Texas Gulf Coast to Florida to St. Eustatius in the Caribbean. The cash grants never have to be repaid, spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown said, and are given to employees to help them in times of crisis.
She added that NuStar has also sent teams of employees and contractors with tools, equipment and supplies to Corpus Christi, the Texas City/Galveston area, and Jacksonville, Fla.
USAA wasted no time in rushing to the aid of its 3,500 employees in Tampa, Fla. The day after Hurricane Irma struck the state, more than 2,000 USAA employees in San Antonio gathered to assemble 4,000 care packages to be shipped to Tampa.
Former San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan, a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands and no stranger to hurricanes and their aftermath, set up a crowdfunding platform to support islanders affected by Hurricane Irma. The greatest player in franchise history donated an initial $250,000 and pledged to match up to $1 million in donations. To date, Duncan’s efforts have resulted in more than $2.5 million in relief funds.
Last week, Texas country legend George Strait headlined a concert at the Majestic Theatre to benefit the victims of Hurricane Harvey. With the support of Miranda Lambert, Lyle Lovett, Chris Stapleton, and Robert Earl Keen, the “Hand in Hand” benefit raised more than $5 million through ticket sales. The concert was part of the greater celebrity-studded telethon broadcast across the nation that raised more than $44 million.
To learn more about how San Antonio stepped in with donations to help hurricane victims, click on the map below.
If you and your organization have contributed significantly to the effort, leave us a comment with your information, and we will add it to the map.
Hanna Oberhofer contributed to this report.