Across a 300-mile stretch of southeast Texas, millions of people grappled with the devastating effects of a storm that shattered rainfall records for the continental United States — houses under water, flooded roads that cut off entire neighborhoods, a loss of power affecting thousands and fuel shortages — while millions of others began to assess the damage and figure out how to rebuild their lives, according to a report by the New York Times.
Health food stores and natural product manufacturers in the area are also struggling—and trying to help those who are worse off—through the disaster.
Retailer Ramona Billingslea, of Betsy’s Health Foods, with two locations in Houston, and one in Spring, TX, for a limited time, plan to donate the proceeds from the sale of its Betsy’s Basics multis to the J.J. Watts’ Houston Flood Relief Fund.
Although the stores were not flooded, one location sustained a roof leak. “We figure that the leak was fairly minor since the whole floor wasn’t covered in water.” Billingslea said. However, she reported that road travel in the area was still treacherous days after the rain subsided.
“There is only one road, Kuykendahl, that is open to run North and South between 249 and 45, but I’m sure there are several ways to jog around high water to get where you want to go. Most of our customers will need that north to south access to get to our stores.”
“I’m sure we’ll be hearing many stories as we open up our doors in the days to come,” Billingslea said. “We look forward to helping our customers and community bounce back by providing them the very best that healthy living has to offer. Seeing how all the civilians are pitching in to help out the overwhelmed first responders is one of the many reasons I’m proud to be a Texan.”
Paul Colgin, CEO of Source Vital apothecary, a manufacturer of natural HBA products based in Houston, said the manufacturing facility never lost power and is located high enough that is escaped floodwaters. However, four days after the start of the storm, four of the company’s 14 employees were still unable to leave their homes due to flooding.
With a backlog of orders waiting to ship, Colgin said he was waiting for the USPS and UPS to begin delivery service. Colgin said he is also concerned about the welfare of the company’s large community of local partners and clientele.
The company donated toiletry products, such as body wash, deodorant and female hygiene items, to local shelters.
Located in Sugar Land, TX., just southwest of Houston, Bluebonnet Nutrition stated that although the manufacturing facility remained dry, many of the company’s employees were evacuated from their homes.
In response, the company started a gofundme.com page (https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-harvey-home-losses). “In Sugarland and the surrounding areas, Bluebonnet has had numerous employees experience losses of property from flood damage,” the company stated in a post on the website. “Being one big family at Bluebonnet, we want to help our own. On behalf of the Bluebonnet employees, retailers, and vendors throughout the country who have asked for ways they can help those at Bluebonnet most affected, we have put together this gofundme.com page. Your donation no matter how small is greatly appreciated, and will be used to help those employees in the Bluebonnet family that need help the most with transportation, food, and/or housings costs due to a loss in the flood!”