Most people don’t think of warehouses, or their importance, during a disaster. Getting supplies in, sorted and distributed is the first step to getting emergency supplies out to the people who need them most.
Dennis Rudd is the general manager for Catalyst Fabric Solutions, LLC in Marianna, Florida. They specialize in custom printed fabrics and are a leading provider of fabric finishes across the country. Like many other businesses, they had damage to their roof and a complete loss of power. They weren’t sure when they’d get their operation up and running but they did have a warehouse – a warehouse the American Red Cross needed.
“I don’t even know how we got to this amazing man, but he has literally put his own business priorities on hold to, not only provide us with space, but also to get it cleared out so the Red Cross could use it to establish our operation,” said Sue Yoder, a Red Cross volunteer.
Of the more than 200 employees, all were impacted personally, in some way. Some lost everything, and some just lost electricity, but everyone came to help set up space for Red Cross supplies.
“It’s just people helping people. We all had damage,” said Rudd. “You just have to step up and do what you can to help people. It’s just what you have to do.”
“Until I met Dennis, we had trucks driving around with nowhere to go, and no way to get these supplies offloaded so we can get them on distribution trucks to the affected areas,” said Yoder.
Rudd was in the National Guard during Hurricane Andrew and was charged with guarding a Red Cross warehouse. “I kind of knew already what the Red Cross had done and how it got set up,” said Rudd.
In Florida, the Red Cross has distributed more than 176,000 relief items like clean up kits, shovels, bleach, garbage bags and much more to help more than 11,000 families with the massive clean-up effort.
Most of these supplies made their way to and from Catalyst’s warehouse.
It’s the little things coming together to make it work. Whether it’s a community group organizing donations, therapy animals comforting shelter residents, or businesses stepping up when needed, it takes everyone to get through devastation of this magnitude. And it’s a wonderful thing to see.