It's been nearly three months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and left the island devastated, without power and many necessities. Because of the devastation that hit on September 20th, many people have left the island and taken shelter on the mainland.
In the first few weeks, many companies provided assistance. Google, Facebook, Starbucks, and Verizon raised and donated millions of dollars toward rebuilding Puerto Rico. AT&T and T-Mobile waived cell phone charges in affected areas while JetBlue used one of its planes to get critical emergency supplies to those desperately waiting for help.
Even though a lot of aid arrived early on, there are many companies that have continued to help long after many have moved on to other projects. The companies helping deliver social good come from all over. Many are small brands while others are global powerhouses. And, in the spirit of doing social good versus focusing on competitive advantages, many companies from the same industry delivered their assistance to the island in a show of unity.
Considered one of the most trusted battery brands in the world, Duracell PowerForward has now deployed three shipments of batteries, totaling nearly 100 tons. The free batteries total over $2 million and are a much-needed resource for the territory.
Besides delivering such a large quantity, Duracell did it with speed and efficiency. They airlifted two of the five trucks that make up the PowerForward fleet to get the batteries to Puerto Rico as quickly as possible. Duracell also had a team of people on the ground for more than five weeks, helping people and distributing the batteries.
The batteries provide safety, security, health, communication and a sense of community by powering radios, mobile devices, flashlights and more. Their PowerForward initiative began in 2011. Since then, it has delivered social good across the country. Duracell's program has helped numerous people after natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes have struck.
Sonnen is a German-based manufacturer that builds energy storage systems. The company has continued to supply Puerto Rico with micro-grids that do not require an initial grid connection to supply power. This has been an ideal alternative to the time it will take to rebuild the territory's grid infrastructure.
Tesla also stepped up its own effort to produce micro-grids. It has continued to send Puerto Rico a supply of its residential batteries called Powerwalls. These batteries store power from solar panels. Additionally, the company has started on a project to rebuild the territory's grid. To start, Tesla has used its solar system to bring Hospital del Nino in Puerto Rico back online so that it now has the power it needs to operate as a hospital.
Even smaller brands are stepping up to show some of the global brands that size doesn't matter when it comes to doing social good. For example, ReVision Energy, a solar company headquartered in Maine, is getting involved in helping with Puerto Rico's power crisis. The company is building portable solar devices to send to Puerto Rico. These devices look like a U-Haul trailer with solar panels on the sides and roof. This can help those in more remote area reconnect through electronics, computers, and communication devices. ReVision has joined a consortium of solar companies that work with Amurtel to help bring this assistance to Puerto Rico. The company has done fundraising and used donated equipment to make this happen.
New York State
The state of New York continues to help nearly two months after the hurricane hit Puerto Rico. This includes assistance from Orange and Rockland Utilities and Con Edison who successfully restored power in Puerto Rico for the first time since the hurricane. More workers, specialists, and others continue to be sent to Puerto Rico to keep going on with all the work that needs to be done. This includes replacing poles, cable, and transformers that are used to power homes and businesses.
Besides utility workers, New York State has sent physicians, physicians assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners as well as state troopers. These support teams have been replaced every few weeks with fresh assistance.
Paying Employees Despite Store Closures
Social good comes in many forms. For example, numerous retail brands announced that they would continue paying employees of their Puerto Rico locations despite the fact that the stores were destroyed and will remain closed until further notice.
For example, TJX, which is the parent company of T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls, J.C.Penney and Luxottica, will pay employees at those branded stores that no longer are operating. In fact, J.C.Penney issued cash paychecks because of limited access to banks and ATMs on the island.
Also, Nordstrom and Starbucks are still paying their employees. For employees interested in transferring to other stores on the mainland, Nordstrom is even offering relocation assistance. Starbucks has an employee assistance fund for its Puerto Rico workers.
Puerto Rico Still Needs Help
Puerto Rico still needs help. While the U.S. government may not be giving this U.S. territory the financial support it needs, at least there are companies like these who recognize the value of focusing on delivering social good.