Charter bus company owner and NFIB member John Bailey worked with other Pennsylvania small business owners to send disaster relief to the area affected by Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding. “We were able to get [the bus] out right away to get the supplies there,” Bailey said. “They were very thankful.”
Following the large-scale and ongoing devastation from Hurricane Harvey and the Houston-area flooding, NFIB member John Bailey prepared to offer emergency relief from more than 1,400 miles away in York, Pennsylvania. Owner of charter bus company Bailey Coach, Bailey had been asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide transportation to victims and responders in emergencies before. “This is the third or the fourth time that we’ve responded to a national emergency,” said Bailey.
But responding to one of the most disastrous storms in U.S. history called for more than just relief transportation. Instead of sending his three drivers in three empty charter buses, Bailey, his employees, and the York County Economic Alliance collected an estimated 60,000 pounds of donated food, bottled water, diapers, and other supplies in four hours to pack into the buses before their departure.
“People just stopped what they were doing,” said Bailey. “The outpouring has just been incredible.”
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Bailey spoke with FEMA about how many buses and drivers his small business could afford to offer for emergency relief late in the evening on Sunday, August 27. He was given the formal approval to send his charter buses at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 28, and was able to gather the donations before the buses departure at 2 p.m. that same day. The buses will drop off the collected supplies at the American Red Cross center in San Antonio, nearby where the buses will go for staging before being sent out to provide hurricane relief transportation in the affected areas.
“We were able to get it out right away to get the supplies there,” Bailey said. “They were very thankful.”
After the buses’ departure, Bailey and his team reached out to other small businesses in the area for help sending more disaster relief to the American Red Cross center in San Antonio. Bailey called a friend who owns a trucking company, S&H Trucking, who offered a 53-foot trailer to pack with more donations. Bailey called other friends with small businesses, who donated boxes, shipping supplies, and pallets to package the new donations of diapers, flashlights, and animal food. Bailey said companies like Home Depot and Walmart as well as schools are stepping forward with donations now, too. The trailer will transport the rest of the donations to San Antonio on Friday, September 8, and Bailey Coach will continue to collect donations at their bus terminal during designated times up until then.
For other small business owners and NFIB members interested in providing Hurricane Harvey emergency relief, Bailey suggests sending money. “I think the biggest thing they could do right now is to donate cash to the American Red Cross,” he said. “If every NFIB member puts $100 in, that’s millions of dollars.” To donate to the American Red Cross, you can click here, or you can find a list of national and local organizations providing on-the-ground emergency relief here.
NFIB stands with all individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding.