The Arbor Lodge / Kenton Neighborhood Emergency Team recently staffed a booth at the Kenton Street Fair. Our neighborhood Lowes in Hayden Island donated a bucket full of preparedness supplies, which we used as a raffle prize. It was a dreary, rainy day in mid-May, but our booth had a steady stream of visitors. At $1 a pop, we raised $60 for our team, which we’ll use for medical supplies to put in our team cache.
We All Win: The NET Program got attention, lives may be saved by those medical supplies, and Lowes got free advertising at our event. They also showed us that they care about the safety and wellbeing of our community.
Business partnership is something all NET and CERT teams should be thinking about. While the City of Portland funds the coordination of the NET Program, we are, in the end, non-funded neighborhood groups with a critical need for supplies and other support.
WAYS BUSINESSES CAN HELP
There are so many ways a business can help. Depending on the type of business, size, and structure, some ways will make more sense than other ways. When talking to businesses, it’s probably best just to focus on a few of these ideas instead of overwhelming them with the whole list.
In Kind Donations
Hardware stores, grocery stores, camping supply stores, army supply stores, kitchen supply stores… heck, almost any kind of store can make an in-kind donation (aka supplies). Recently the St. Johns NET Team Lead received donations from St. Johns ACE Hardware, which they raffled off at the St. Johns Bizarre.
Cash (of Course)
In addition to one-time, lump-sum contributions, there are also models of businesses donating cash on an ongoing basis via rewards programs. Fred Meyer’s Community Rewards Program allows shoppers to connect their Rewards Card to a NET team, which will in turn receive cash donations each month based on how much shoppers spent.
Staging Area / Shelter Space
NETs are making plans for team mobilization in the event of an earthquake. Ideally, they will use a field or other open space as a staging area for their operations. But if it’s cold and rainy out, they could really use a large indoor meeting space. Businesses with a large, modern building could allow NETs to use it as a staging area or shelter after an earthquake. Identifying these types of buildings ahead of time will help immensely.
My favorite neighborhood restaurant, New American, has allowed the Overlook NET to hold team meetings in their space. Delicious local food and earthquake preparedness, together at last!
Many NETs are assembling supply caches, and they need somewhere to store those materials. A shed, a warehouse, a shipping container – you name it.
Our team is talking to our local Lowes store manager about the possibility of having a NET-themed display at the end of an aisle. But it could be as simple as a flyer hung on the door of neighborhood stores.
New Seasons Market takes safety and community seriously. That’s why they’re encouraging employees to ready themselves for an earthquake. They’re also working to get a few employees from each of their stores to complete NET training and get involved with local teams. Just imagine if all of our grocers did the same! Good for the business, good for the community.
Businesses can help our efforts by helping themselves. They need to educate and train employees, consider hazards in their work space, and plan for continuity of business. The NET Program is working on a way to provide support in this planning. In the meantime, resources such as Open for Business and Prepare My Business have helpful handouts and other resources.
ANYONE CAN DO IT
You may be thinking: “I don’t know how to solicit donations!” In the case of Lowes donating a bucket full of supplies, it was as easy as one of our team members walking in the store and talking to a manager about the work we do. You’d be surprised how willing most businesses are to contribute. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
You may also be thinking: “I don’t know anything about business preparedness!” South Burlingame NET has prepared a terrific form that you can use to open a conversation with a neighborhood business.
You don’t have to be a NET member and you don’t have to be a preparedness expert to talk to neighborhood businesses.
Just tell them that you’re a concerned community member and that you can put them in touch with the Team Leader for your neighborhood’s team. They can also complete our online donation form or contact form, which will be routed to the appropriate person.