As storms continue to batter the Houston area, leaving huge portions of the region under water, Charlotte-area companies are stepping in to assist with the relief effort.
Mooresville-based Lowe’s activated its Emergency Command Center in Wilkesboro before Hurricane Harvey hit last weekend, spokeswoman Jackie Hartzell said. The 24/7 center, which first opened in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo, tracks areas where the need is critical. The center played a similar role last year during Hurricane Matthew.
So far, Lowe’s has sent to storm-affected areas more than 700 truckloads of products including generators, bottled water, trash bags, electrical cords, gas cans, charcoal grills and tarps, Hartzell said.
Lowe’s has over 90 stores in the Texas area impacted by flooding and as of Tuesday afternoon, 18 are currently closed, Hartzell said. One store – the one in the coastal town Aransas Pass – is flooded and closed indefinitely.
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“We’ll send employees from different parts of the country into the Houston area to provide relief to employees there,” Jartzell added.
Another company, Charlotte-based Belk, is collecting donations at each register for the the American Red Cross through Sept. 9, spokesman Andy Izquierdo said. The campaign initially included 31 stores in four states, but Belk on Tuesday expanded the effort to all of its 292 stores.
None of Belk’s stores were in the path of the storm, and no associates are known to be impacted, Izquierdo added.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday afternoon tapped Carolinas Healthcare System to assist with relief efforts in the Houston region.
CHS sent three planes to assist with relief late Tuesday afternoon. Jason Schwebach, CHS’s vice president of mobile medicine, said CHS was told it would be in the area for five days.