Hurricane Katrina: Helpful

By September 8, 2005Miscellaneous

Today, the contrast is stark. There are folks who are being helpful — in droves — to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. And, unfortunately, there are folks who are being very un-helpful, but more on that later.

To begin, let’s focus on the good news: The outpouring from the business community has been well nigh overwhelming. The NAM has posted a Hurricane Katrina Relief Resource Center, with links to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and a host of business continuity services, as well as to the main site for donations and supplies at the Department of Homeland Security. A jobs site will be up very soon, as we are hearing from many manufacturers who are willing to hire people who have fled the hurricane-ravaged areas and are looking for work. We have posted an Honor Roll, some 175 manufacturers — and these are just the companies we know about — who are making exceedingly generous gifts of cash and supplies to ease the suffering of the victims and to begin the process of rebuilding. You can see them on there — from 3M to Xerox and everyone in between — large and small — and the great outpouring of generosity. If you’ve lost faith in your fellow man, just scroll through the list and it will be restored, we guarantee it.

We also heard that Cisco has donated $1 million and their foundation has committed to matching up to $1 million of employee donations. Better still, they are granting employees paid leave on their campus in California to staff a Red Cross phone bank, have employees working on restoring service to government, charity, emergency, service providers in the impacted region and employees with paid time off to volunteer in the region as well.

Wal-Mart’s generosity is by now well-known. After their stores were famously looted, they turned the other cheek and gave $20 million in cash, 1500 truckloads of merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and a promised job for every one of its displaced workers. Their near-legendary logistics prowess has become a much-needed aid to local and federal relief efforts as well.

Manufacturers create jobs and wealth for all. And when the chips are down, they and their employees share that wealth with those in need. Out of misery comes hope, led out of the darkness by America’s manufacturers. We salute them.