Sept. 29, 2017 – In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico, Melaleuca organized several humanitarian efforts to help those whose lives had been turned upside down.
Melaleuca quickly contributed more than $300,000 in products and cash to help the victims of Hurricane Maria. Additionally, Melaleuca’s corporate jet was quickly loaded with generators and boxes of beef jerky and sent on its way.
Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 20, with violent winds and torrential rain resulting in massive devastation. The strongest storm to hit the island in almost 90 years, Maria has killed dozens of people, caused widespread flooding, and effectively destroyed Puerto Rico’s entire electrical grid.
The Supplies: Generators and Jerky
Without power, more than 3 million people struggled day to day for survival. To help provide electricity to the hurricane victims, Melaleuca purchased as many generators as it could fit on its corporate plane—18 in all. A few local businesses discounted the generators and one company donated an entire generator after learning where it was going.
Once there, several generators were donated to hospitals and nursing homes. They are keeping patients alive by maintaining respirators, oxygen machines and other vital hospital equipment. Some are powering refrigerators that store medicine, while others are keeping food from spoiling. Melaleuca also donated generators to schools so children can have power in the classrooms or a hot meal.
In addition, Golden Valley Natural of Shelley, Idaho, donated 2,000 pounds of jerky products. Any more supplies, and the plane would have been overweight and unable to make the trip.
The Delivery: Melaleuca’s Corporate Jet
Loaded to capacity, the plane flew to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and on to Puerto Rico. The damage from Hurricane Maria also crippled Puerto Rico’s main airport, making it nearly impossible for commercial planes to fly to and from the island. Although the San Juan Airport’s radar instruments were inoperable, Melaleuca pilots skillfully managed to safely land there.
The Rescue: Evacuees Flown off Island
After Melaleuca’s corporate jet arrived, VanderSloot posted the following tweets:
In addition to the tweets, Melaleuca contacted government officials, church leaders and other organizations to let them know seats were available for people in need of evacuation. As a result, Melaleuca was immediately inundated by hundreds of people hoping for a free spot on the plane.
With so many requests to leave the island, preference was given to individuals with serious medical conditions that warranted timely evacuation. One of the passengers was even using a nebulizer powered by a car battery. All 10 seats were quickly filled, and the passengers were flown to the U.S. this afternoon.
Among the passengers whom Melaleuca flew to the U.S. was Blanca Figueroa. She said her heart is full of gratitude for Melaleuca and Frank VanderSloot.
“I feel highly blessed,” Blanca said in this EastIdahoNews.com video. “I really believe in miracles.”
More details on this story, including video footage of the plane being loaded, are available at EastIdahoNews.com.