Dear friends and colleagues,
For many business people around the world, this day is a typical November Friday. But, for those of us in the United States, it's the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday that commemorates a harvest feast celebrated by the Pilgrims hundreds of years ago. More broadly, it's a day to give thanks. I hope you, like me, have many reasons to be grateful.
With that gratitude in mind, I am inspired by an American Red Cross campaign that launched Tuesday. The organization urges people to give hope to others by giving something meaningful. For example, the organization's website outlines how people can offer money to victims of disasters, donate blood, or acknowledge a service member who might be far from home.
Disaster relief is something that's been on my mind, particularly following Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines more than two weeks ago and flattened much of the city of Tacloban. Relief agencies are providing people there with food, blankets, hygiene items, and more. They also are helping governments by deploying search-and-rescue and other emergency response teams.
Here in the Midwest United States, a wave of strong tornadoes left mass destruction in their wakes more than a week ago. Relief workers in these areas help people find temporary housing, replace household items and clothing, and provide food.
You, as supply chain and operations management professionals, can easily ascertain that these efforts are not easy, nor are they free.
The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), of which APICS is a member, has assisted victims in the Philippines and the Midwest United States. ALAN supports disaster recovery by engaging industries to address the unmet needs of relief organizations, communities, and people. The following guidance is provided by ALAN for how you can make a difference during this Thanksgiving season.
- Connect before you collect: Make sure that there is a need—as well as capacity and a specific recipient—for your donation on the other end. Your good intentions can overburden local supply chains if affected communities are not prepared for the arrival of your goods or services.
- Don't self-deploy: Many families have been displaced by these storms and housing and other services will be directed to support their needs first.
- Work through ALAN: ALAN partners with voluntary organizations, communities, and emergency response agencies on the ground to provide an organized response. ALAN will be happy to share your offers of support with our partners to see if they match local needs.
- Cash is best: By far, monetary donations are the most useful help you can give. They allow affected communities to purchase exactly what they need, when they need it most; they permit local sourcing of supplies, which stimulates the economy and keeps tax revenues at home; and they help survivors to take control of their own recovery.
For those of you affected by these disasters or in need, please know our thoughts and efforts are with you. For others, I hope you are able to take time out to appreciate what you have.
Please consider contributing to relief efforts.