The Blanco River overflowed its banks this spring, resulting in mass flooding in Texas, leaving a swath of destruction throughout Wimberley and surrounding towns just southwest of Austin. Just a few months later, similar devastation struck residents throughout South Carolina, where epic rains left massive damage across the state.
As part of Kellogg Company’s ongoing commitment to hunger relief, and through support from the Kellogg Company Fund, the Breakfasts for Better DaysTM Disaster Relief team was deployed to provide cereal and snacks to residents living in the affected areas.
Julie B., Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Kellogg, shares her thoughts on our support in both Texas and South Carolina:
The decision to deploy: Each year, there are thousands of natural and man-made disasters in the U.S. Obviously, we can’t be everywhere, and one of our most difficult decisions is where to send our disaster relief team. We consider the scale and scope of a disaster, and determine where resources are needed most. We also want to make sure the area is safe and secure, and that our presence will assist rescue and recovery efforts.
An agile response: With most disaster sites, we set up in a central area where people can come and eat breakfast. But the Texas and South Carolina floods were much more widespread, and we needed to reach residents right where they were cleaning up. So we loaded up our food truck and a van with Kellogg’s cereals and snacks, and drove around, block by block, house by house. People were amazed that Kellogg would send people all the way from Michigan to help, and they were surprised to see us in their own neighborhoods.
Survivors shared their stories: A woman in Texas told us that just before the flooding began, she had been hosting a graduation party with more than 100 guests. Fortunately, many had already departed. Those who remained jumped in their cars and drove up a hill to escape the fast rising waters. They were stranded as the bridge across the river was completely washed out. Her home was completely gutted, and yet she and her neighbors were grateful to be alive. “We’re moving ahead,” she told us matter-of-factly. I’d like to think I could act as gracefully, in the wake of such devastation.
Right where we were needed: Another person told us he hadn’t eaten anything all day. He had been working nonstop, ripping up the wet carpeting in his home, and removing damaged drywall, trying to restore what was left of his house. “There was no time to leave and get a meal somewhere,” he told us. Kellogg bringing food directly to him (and so many others), meant that residents and recovery workers could concentrate on the cleanup, not on finding nourishment. In addition to food delivered by the disaster relief team, the company provided 2.3 million servings of Kellogg’s cereal, bars and snacks, to food banks in Feeding America’s national network to help those in the broader areas impacted by flooding in Texas and South Carolina.
How you can help: We encourage people to help us support Feeding America and those in need bydonating online. Donations will help feed America's hungry, those who face the daily crisis of hunger and during times of disaster, through their nationwide network of food banks.
Final thoughts: As part of my job, I’ve visited a few of these disaster sites now. I continue to be amazed by people’s resilience during really difficult moments in their lives. They do what they need to do to recover their lives, and they appreciate our support so much. I feel compelled to come back and share the impact we made. These are important stories to tell. We were there when people needed us. We made a real difference.
Our disaster relief efforts are part of Kellogg Company’s Breakfasts for Better Days commitment to provide 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks, more than half of which are breakfast, to those who need it most by 2016. In the past two years alone, we have donated 1.2 billion servings of cereal and snacks, more than half of which were breakfast foods, to children and families around the world.