San Diego Flood Relief: Melaleuca Partners with Jackie Robinson Family YMCA to Help Victims

Angie Gange and Michael Braunstein making Melaleuca Donation

Two severe storms recently hit Southern California, unleashing torrential rainfall that inundated coastal cities and towns. Fueled by a powerful atmospheric river, the storms produced historic levels of rain. When the violent storms finally let up, thousands of people were displaced, and hundreds of homes were destroyed by water, debris, and mudslides.  

One experience describes a father who woke up to water at his chest and rushed to rescue his daughter and their dog from the San Diego River’s flash flooding. Although he saved everything that was truly important, he lost the family’s home.

As always, Melaleuca sprang into action to help the families and individuals affected by this natural disaster.

Tony Blas showing water line at head level from flood in his home
Tony Blas points to the water line inside his home that flooded on January 22, 2024, in San Diego. Photograph: Denis Poroy/AP

Helping Hands

Working with Melaleuca Executive Director 4 Angie Gange and Director Michael Braunstein, Melaleuca reached out to the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, which has been serving as a disaster recovery center in one of the most devastated neighborhoods in southeast San Diego.  

After discussing how Melaleuca could contribute, Melaleuca went to work by immediately delivering what the YMCA requested. This donation included MelaMagic Heavy-Duty Wipes, Koala Pals Baby Wipes, Classic Tooth Polishes, Affinia Antiperspirant & Deodorants, Herbal Shampoos, Sei Bella Conditioners, Melaleuca Gold Bar luxury glycerin bars, and Clear Defense Hand Sanitizers.

Angie and Michael were happy to personally deliver this donation.

Barry Pollard, director of the Urban Collaborative Project in San Diego, gratefully accepted the Melaleuca products on behalf of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.

“We love our community and have been heartbroken to watch so many families suffer during this natural disaster,” Barry said. “This significant donation from Melaleuca comes at the perfect time, and these household products will absolutely help our community members. It’s refreshing to see people and organizations like Melaleuca come to the rescue, help complete strangers, and lift them up at a time of need.”

Angie Gange, Barry Pollard, and Michael Braunstein
From left to right: Angie Gange, Barry Pollard, and Michael Braunstein

Stepping Up in Crisis

Angie was grateful to serve as the connection point for the donation. Barry told her that Melaleuca’s products were exactly what was needed at that moment, and he said that the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA would organize volunteers to put these Melaleuca products into disaster kits for families.

Barry also explained that hundreds of homes near the YMCA had been damaged by the floods, and the YMCA’s volunteers were mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by listening to victims’ stories of loss and heartache. In some of their homes, flood water had risen higher than four feet. Although the volunteers were exhausted by the ordeal, witnessing the community’s generosity sustained their spirits.

“Although I’ve heard that Melaleuca has a long track record of helping those in dreadful circumstances, I had not been involved with their disaster response activities until now,” said Angie. “I was impressed by the company’s urgency and custom approach to supporting San Diegans. It’s been a blessing for me to play a part here, and this experience made me prouder than ever of my association with Melaleuca.”  

While at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, Angie was drawn to a picture on the wall featuring the legendary baseball player alongside one of his inspirational quotes.

“Jackie Robinson’s quote struck a chord in me,” said Angie. “His words deepened my commitment to pursue service opportunities, empower others, and live in a way that enhances the lives of those around me. In that picture, I saw that my personal values and Melaleuca’s service-oriented mission statement are all about doing what matters most.”

Inspiring Further Giving

Reflecting on her volunteer experience, Angie believes that Melaleuca’s compassion will inspire others to reach out to those in need. Indeed, this seems to have already occurred.

Several Melaleuca Members in Angie’s shopping organization have been fundraising to help less-fortunate families in San Diego. In addition to Angie and Michael, Bobby Aleshire, Bob Johnson, Teresa Dutton, and Idan Shnall have donated over $2,000 worth of Melaleuca products to the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA.

A History of Humanitarian Work

Melaleuca and the Melaleuca Foundation have been helping people who, for whatever reason, are temporarily unable to help themselves. We’ve contributed millions of dollars to worthy causes, donated millions of Melaleuca’s wellness products, collected thousands of tons of food, and provided supplies and aid to families in need around the globe.

  • On February 6, 2024, the company donated more than $215,000 worth of Melaleuca’s Riverbend Ranch Black Label USDA Prime and High Choice beef to the Idaho Foodbank—a registered Feeding America partner, to serve the hungry. Melaleuca’s donation comes at a time when food inventory is at an all-time low, but families’ needs are at an all-time high.
  • On October 25, 2023, Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 storm, developed out of seemingly nowhere, surprising even weather forecasters. Over 24 hours, it increased in strength before devastating the Mexican city of Acapulco. Melaleuca quickly donated $36,000 worth of products. The donation was taken from Melaleuca’s Mexico warehouse and given to the Mexican Red Cross logistical hub in Toluca, Mexico.
  • When wildfires devastated Maui’s historic village of Lahaina on August 8, 2023, the Melaleuca Foundation, individual Melaleuca Marketing Executives and Melaleuca Executive Chairman Frank VanderSloot donated more than $135,000 in food, cash, and emergency supplies. Melaleuca’s contributions came in the forms of cash, personal hygiene kits, healthy snack foods, and electrical generators. On top of all that, Frank personally donated thousands of pounds of beef from his cattle operations on the islands to feed the hungry for several weeks.

When crisis hits, Melaleuca mobilizes. Our timely flood relief in San Diego is just one example of Melaleuca’s mission of enhancing lives with a heart for service. Wherever hardship strikes, Melaleuca will be there. By delivering support, inspiring generosity, empowering communities, and leading by example, Melaleuca demonstrates the importance of doing good where good is needed.