Submitted by The Home Depot
September is National Preparedness Month. Established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Ready.gov, this is a time to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies that may happen at any time.
Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation and Operation Blessing have responded to over 20 natural disasters together. The nonprofit organization became a national partner of The Home Depot Foundation in 2019, and today, we’re sharing more about how this partnership plays a role in disaster preparedness.
Established in 1978, Operation Blessing dedicated their mission of “sharing God’s love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world.” Their U.S. Disaster Relief team was developed after Hurricane Katrina, when they saw a critical need for assistance in rebuilding communities after a catastrophe.
Operation Blessing has four program pillars: disaster relief, hunger relief, medical care and clean water. Their team not only focuses on immediate assistance, but they also work to promote long-term stability in the areas they serve. This past year, they were able to provide disaster relief in over 20 cities, deliver over 800,000 pounds of assistance supplies and distribute over 2,500 relief kits packed by The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot volunteers.
Anthony Lloyd, senior director of disaster relief at Operation Blessing, says “preparedness is quintessential for having an effective disaster response team.” It's more than just readiness and a willingness to respond. It also includes vehicle fleet maintenance, having accessible tools and equipment and packaging relief supplies. Together with the Foundation, Operation Blessing gets ready for disaster season by restocking their distribution centers with the necessary tools and provisions, packaging cleaning products and preparing emergency meal kits. These contain up to three days of food to feed a family of four.
When Hurricane Laura made landfall in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had also swept the nation. Cassie Meaux, a Louisiana resident in one of the communities hit hardest by the storm, said she “didn’t know where to turn” for help. Through support from the Foundation, Operation Blessing was able to assist in debris removal at a time when it was still difficult to find the necessary cleaning supplies. “I felt relief. I felt found,” says Cassie.
In 2021, Hurricanes Laura and Delta tore through the community of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Andrean and Alexei Slobodyanyk, along with their young children, had started the long road to recovery when residual heavy rains flooded their home with almost two feet of water. They reached out to Operation Blessing after hearing about their previous relief efforts in the area. The disaster response team partnered with Team Depot to repair the damage. In a heartfelt thank you to The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot for their generosity, Andrean stated, “It’s truly a wonderful thing that they’re stepping in and helping out folks like us.”
These stories are just a snapshot of the assistance and care the Operation Blessing team consistently provides, and this National Preparedness Month, The Home Depot is taking a moment to honor the work they do all year long.
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