Brubaker Inc. teams up with MDS to send aid to Hurricane ravaged areas

Company matches employee donations collected

Alexendre Jorge evacuates Ethan Colman, 4, from a neighborhood inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

In response to the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Brubaker Inc. employees and ownership are teaming with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) to make a joint collection and donation to the highly regarded aid agency to help bring recovery to the areas ravaged by these storms.

With stupendous amounts of rainfall over the six days from August 25th through the 30th, record floods were experienced all along southeastern Texas into western Louisiana.  In addition, Harvey made the first of three landfalls as a Category 4 hurricane, packing sustained winds of over 135 miles per hour near Corpus Christi on Friday August 25th before essentially becoming a huge water pump, dumping as much as 52 inches of water in some areas, flooding the land as far as the eye could see, including the Nation’s fourth largest city, Houston.  During the ensuing six days, the storm, while losing considerable wind speed, slowly drifted over a relatively small area, slowly moving south and east, drifting north again, then south out over the Gulf of Mexico, before finally drifting north-northeast, tracking across western and central Louisiana and gradually northeast up the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys before it finally drifted out into the North Atlantic off of the New Jersey shore.

Meanwhile in southeast Texas and surrounding areas, this natural disaster of epic proportions continues as a human tragedy.  Flood waters are taking weeks to slowly drain into the Gulf of Mexico.

If this wasn’t enough, Hurricane Irma, one of the longest lasting Category 5 storms ever, hammered islands in the Caribbean, grazed Puerto Rico, before traveling west-north west over northern Cuba.  On September 8th it made landfall on Cuba as a Category 5 storm, before making a hard turn north, where it made two landfalls over Florida.  On Sunday September 10th it made landfall over the Florida Keys and again near Marco Island as a Category 4 hurricane.

This is the first time on record two Category 4 landfalls occurred in the continental United States in the same hurricane season, much less within 16 days.

The storm tracked generally north near the west coast of Florida overland, continuing north-northwest through Georgia where it weakened to a tropical storm.  Eventually it headed north and then northeast, continuing to degrade but still release plenty of wind and rain, before exiting northeast near New England on September 15th.  Its remnants absorbed into Hurricane Jose, off of the coast of New England and Canada. 

Irma’s path of destruction was especially significant in the Keys, southwestern Florida near Naples, and along eastern Florida from Miami to Jacksonville in the form of persistent flooding.  Since the storm passed over two weeks ago, the Jacksonville area almost daily still has flood advisories in effect.

Highway near Toa Alta, west of San Juan.
Photo courtesy Getty Images – Ricardo Arduengo

Completing the trifecta of destruction was Hurricane Maria.

While it has not had, thankfully, a major impact on the continental US, Maria devastated the already heavily damaged Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean.  Then, for the third time in a month, a Category 4 storm made landfall in the United States as it slammed into the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on Wednesday September 20th. The eye of Maria came ashore near the town of Yabucoa, as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. 

Loiza, Puerto Rico Photo courtesy Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post

The entire island has had its infrastructure destroyed: electric and water are virtually unavailable.  What is to be had is in limited supply.  The Port of San Juan has only recently reopened to shipping in the wake of the storm.  Fuel is scarce for running generators; with no electric there is no pumping of municipal water.  With typical stifling temperatures at this time of year, no food and water, the risk of a humanitarian calamity is palpable.

In the wake of these storms there has been, tragically, loss of life and complete destruction of homes and belongings for many of the survivors. 

And this is where we have reached out to do our part to help. 

In mid September, Brubaker Inc. employees engaged in an initiative to collect donations from within the Company, which were then matched by ownership.  We are pleased and humbled by everyone’s collective generosity as together $15000 was raised.  This money has been sent to MDS.

The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) is a volunteer network through which various groups within the Anabaptist tradition assist people affected by disasters in North America.  The organization was founded in 1950 and was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1993.

The MDS currently involves more than 3,000 members of the Mennonite, Amish and Brethren in Christ churches (BIC).  The primary focus of the service is cleanup, repair, and the rebuilding of homes.  The work of the group supplements the disaster relief provided by the Red Cross. 

With “boots on the ground”, MDS has a presence in the afflicted areas along with the organizational infrastructure and experience to get mobilized quickly to deliver the most effective aid that is most needed at a given time and place.  We have directed them to use their wisdom, experience, and judgment to determine how best to apply our contribution to provide the greatest benefit.

While these storms only took hours and days to wreak their paths of destruction and despair, the recovery and restoration will take months, maybe years to complete.  The need for aid will continue.   

If you would like to help or make a donation, we encourage you to go online to the Mennonite Disaster Service homepage.

Here also is additional information about volunteering with MDS.