Hurricane Harvey Batters Texas, Relief Efforts Begin As Rain Continues

Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas on Friday night — and the devastating impact is expected to continue for several days. The storm came ashore near Corpus Christi as a Category 4 hurricane around 11 p.m.  on Friday. It has since been downgraded to Category 1.

Charles Wax, the mayor of hard-hit Rockport, Texas, told CNN there was “widespread devastation” there. Corpus Christi, Galveston and Houston all face torrential rain today and major flooding threats.

While the dangerous weather situation is ongoing, some groups and retailers are already focusing on relief in the region.

Two Ten offers emergency assistance and financial support to people impacted by natural disasters.

Anyone working in the footwear industry or allied industries is eligible and may call Two Ten for help at 800.346.3210 or email socialservices@twoten.org.

Soles4Souls said it would act as “second wave” responders to provide shoes and clothing to those affected by natural disasters. “Our team is reaching out to our partners on the ground and are preparing to mobilize new product to provide relief to those in need,” the group said in a statement.

Hurricane Harvey Retail Impact
Ramon Lopez boards up windows of a business in Galveston,Texas ahead of Hurricane Harvey.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

Donors and retailers looking to donate new shoes and clothing can contact Pattie Graben, director of corporate development for Soles4Souls, at pattieg@soles4souls.org, or 615-541-7007.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will provide support for relief efforts through cash and product donations of at least $1 million to organizations helping in response to the severe weather impacting Texas and Louisiana, according to a statement from the company.

The retailer said it was working closely with organizations such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope, while coordinating efforts with elected officials and governmental entities to help meet the needs of those affected.

“We are actively supporting local response efforts and will continue to be there for our customers, friends, family, fellow associates and neighbors in the Gulf Coast,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation, in a statement.

Walmart-owned Sam’s Club was waiving membership requirements for shoppers in Texas cities impacted by the storm, though some locations had closed.

Hurricane Harvey Retail Impact
A sign reading “Be Nice Harvey” was left behind on a boarded up business, in Port Aransas, Texas.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

Even as heavy rain continued in Houston, The Galleria — Texas’ largest shopping center — said it would remain open. The Galleria, owned by Simon Property Group, operates 400 stores.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide an update on any changes to future operations as we continue to evaluate weather conditions,” a mall spokesperson said on The Galleria’s Facebook page. “Some retailers’ operating hours may vary from mall hours during this time, so we ask that you call ahead to make sure the store you want to visit is open for business.

If you have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey or have more information about relief efforts, email us at web@footwearnews.com.

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