There’s just no way around it: what’s happening in East Texas is heartbreaking. As a company with deep Texas roots, we’re shocked to see the havoc Hurricane Harvey has brought to our shores. Many of the places hit hardest by the hurricane’s ceaseless barrages are home to our families and friends, and only a few hours from our headquarters in Austin. For some of us, the impact hit even closer to home.
The time has come for people to put aside their differences and band together. That’s why EPIC Provisions is donating $400,000 worth of product to the Central Texas Food Bank to help feed evacuees in our local communities and beyond. We’re also providing additional contributions to U.S. Coast Guard servicemen and women to keep them fed, alert, and agile during their endless days of rescue missions. Our reasoning here is simple: that’s what neighbors do. It’s what we’ve always done around here, according to Paul Gaither, the food bank’s marketing and communications director. “Central Texans have always pulled together to provide support to their neighbors and fellow Texans in need,” he said. “The outpouring of support we’ve seen in just a few days in the way of cash donations, food donations, volunteers and people reaching out to ask how else they can help is truly moving.”
Thanks to countless contributions, the food bank is in a great position to aid evacuees both in Austin and the most sensitive areas along the oast. This is hardly just a local movement, though. Across the country and even beyond U.S. borders, people have lined up to help provide aid to the rapidly-increasing number of Harvey evacuees and survivors. It’s an incredible testament to humanity’s ability to unite around a common goal, regardless of our location, political preference, or race. It’s humbling to be a part of something so large and so impactful, to say the least. “When everyone from individuals to large companies step up to help their neighbors in need… that’s the real meaning of ‘community,’” Gaither said. “We’re so thankful to have such a generous base of support for our mission.”
We’re not naive, though. The tremors of tragedy we’ve personally felt over the past week have been exactly that: tremors. But for tens of thousands of our fellow Texans, Harvey brought destruction directly to their doorsteps — and into their houses. Although the storms, the cities they hit, and the grand-scale impacts are entirely different, this has taken many people back to Hurricane Katrina and the anguish it left behind. But one thing Katrina couldn’t destroy was the solidarity that united New Orleans and so many of the other areas it affected. Instead, it strengthened those bonds and brought people closer together. And Harvey will too.
But now isn’t the time for silver linings. It’s time to step up, take action, and extend a hand to those in need. And right now, the best thing you can do is to make a contribution to your local food bank. While ready-to-eat staples like cereal, canned fruit, and peanut butter and jelly are great food items to provide and cleaning supplies like bleach and paper towels are accepted, Gaither says the best thing you can give is money. “Funds can be used to purchase exactly the type of disaster relief supplies that will be most helpful right now. Donating funds also avoids the complications of sorting and distribution varied food items,” he explained. “Folks who want to help should contact their nearest food bank to find out how they can effectively volunteer and donate following the disaster.”
We all have a part to play here. So whether you’re a single person, a big company, a mom-and-pop shop or anything in between, give what you can. Together, let’s prove that everything’s bigger in Texas — especially our hearts.