After a hurricane, every second counts. That's why we help community food banks and clinics prepare in advance.

Providing Relief – Before the Storm

May 17 2018

The 2018 hurricane season is expected to be more active than usual. And following last year's season that saw Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastate the Southern U.S. Coast and the Caribbean, the need to prepare in advance has never been more critical – especially in regions that are still recovering from last year's hurricanes.

For hurricane season, the best defense is a good offense. That's why Abbott is once again working with trusted non-profit groups to help communities proactively prepare before the storm – so that they can respond quickly when natural disasters strike.

The idea grew from our work following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and broader Louisiana in 2005. The lesson for us was clear and simple: a reactive response wasn’t enough. Communities often face immediate needs for food and medical supplies – but damaged or flooded roads may limit access, and organized relief efforts often take days to ramp up and deliver aid.

Starting in 2006, we pioneered efforts with Feeding America® and Direct Relief to fill this gap by storing nutrition and healthcare products at clinics and food banks in high-risk areas. These "disaster relief packs" are designed to proactively get the right products, in the right places – before a disaster hits. Ready to be deployed within hours, the packs provide the first wave of aid until traditional relief efforts arrive with ongoing support.

In advance of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, Abbott's partnerships with Feeding America and Direct Relief continue to advance this important work.

Food banks on the frontlines

Abbott and Feeding America are once again providing nutrition disaster relief packs to local food banks in areas at risk of hurricanes, focusing on locations that bore the brunt of last year's hurricane season, including Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and Texas. Designed to be given directly to families affected by disasters, the packs can meet immediate nutritional needs for three days. Tailored to different family sizes, the packs contain Abbott nutrition products for children and adults, including Pedialyte® rehydration solutions, Ensure® and PediaSure® nutrition drinks and ZonePerfect® bars. Altogether, 4,000 packs will be stocked to provide rapid nutrition support for 12,000 people.

This year, Abbott employee volunteers in Dallas, Texas, Orlando, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico will work closely with regional food banks to prepare the packs in advance of hurricane season. Once stocked, the packs will be stored at food banks in key locations, ready for use in hours after disaster strikes.

As part of Abbott's partnership with Feeding America, volunteers from Abbott's diagnostics facility in Dallas, TX, help a local food bank prepare "disaster relief packs" stocked with Abbott nutrition products.

Community clinics meet urgent needs

In 2018, Abbott is working with Direct Relief to provide supplies for disaster relief modules that are sent to 50 health clinics that provide community medical care across the U.S. Southern Coast, as well as 12 clinics in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other locations in the Caribbean. Donated Abbott products include rehydration solutions, nutrition drinks and bars.

In the first year of the partnership in 2006, the Direct Relief modules contained only Abbott products. Today, the modules also include donations from many other healthcare companies, providing clinics with the key first aid supplies and medicines they need to treat 100 patients for three to five days after a hurricane hits.

Longstanding relief & recovery results

Over the past 12 years, when hurricanes hit communities across the U.S., health clinics and food banks across the region were prepared for the flood of water – and the flood of requests for aid. Thanks to the disaster relief packs, more than 621,000 people had access to needed nutrition and healthcare.

In addition to the targeted disaster prep programs, Abbott also is a longtime supporter of disaster relief efforts around the world. Over the past decade, Abbott and its foundation the Abbott Fund have provided nearly $50 million in funding and products to help meet both immediate needs and support long-term recovery efforts. In recent years, this included a rapid response to earthquakes in Mexico, Chile, China and Haiti, typhoons in the Philippines and Vietnam, and hurricanes across the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts, including the most recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

When natural disasters strike, it takes a strong, organized and dedicated effort. Disaster relief packs can provide a faster, more effective response – and sustained relief helps communities to recover and rebuild. Taken together, these efforts help save lives and build more resilient communities.


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