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Hurricane Harvey Donation Drive Unites Austin Tech at uShip HQ

Hurricane Harvey has directly impacted many uShippers’ friends and family from Houston and the surrounding areas of Port Aransas, Rockport, Corpus Christi, Beaumont and Louisiana. As our extended family is surviving through this life-changing disaster, uShip is taking immediate action and rallying the troops to provide aid and donations.

uShip was founded with a philanthropic ideal, so it was only natural to help our friends in need. “When there is an opportunity to leverage our company and people to ship resources to those in need, we do it,” says Bud Holtfort, Director, People Operations. “In fact, on Saturday, when disaster struck, local companies contacted us assuming we would lead the way and fill that charitable role as always. We are local. We are from Texas. We’re just doing the right thing,” said Bud.

Austin tech companies and others made enough donations at uShip’s headquarters to fill a 26-foot box truck bound for the Houston area.

uShip, an Austin-based online shipping marketplace, is mobilizing efforts by opening its doors at its Riverside headquarters at 205 E. Riverside Drive and serving as the collection center for donations (in partnership with other Austin companies like TheChive, Aceable, Box, Everfest, Invodo, Boundless Network, and several others still coming forward). Donations will be accepted through the end of the week and will ship out this Labor Day weekend to Texas-based relief organizations including the American Red Cross, food banks, animal shelters, and others.

uShip is also accepting donations sent via Amazon Prime to its Riverside headquarters and cash donations sent via Venmo to charity@uship.com or @uship-inc.  In addition to physical goods, uShip has raised $7,000 in cash – $3,500 through employees that uShip has matched.

In addition, several uShip carriers immediately called to help. “Carriers called to say, ‘You know how to get stuff around the world. If you can gather donations, I will get it there for you,’” said Ingrid McLain, Manager of Customer Success. Carriers have donated Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) and generators, for example.

The tech community in Austin is a very strong network with tight bonds, so it’s no surprise that they would come together to assist neighbors in dire need just a few hours down the road. Many other major international tech companies such as Apple and Google are contributing to the hurricane relief, too, as they have additional offices in Texas with employees affected by the hurricane.

uShip dogs help collect donations for their fur friends.

Items collected from uShip employees, friends, and family continue to roll in. Requested items include:

    • Non-perishable food, including baby formula and baby/toddler food packets
    • Bottled water
    • Personal hygiene items – diapers, hygiene items, Depends, baby bottles, baby formula
    • Pet food and pet essentials
    • Insect repellant
    • Hand sanitizer, baby wipes, Lysol
    • Shovels, rakes, hoes, chain saws, shop vacs, industrial/shop brooms
    • Work gloves, buckets, large/industrial trash bags
    • Flash lights, batteries, extension cords
    • Tarps
    • Gas cans
    • Foam ear plugs, safety glasses
    • Diabetic syringes
    • Tylenol, Aspirin
    • Childrens’ toys (non-electronic), crayons, puzzles, paper, coloring books
Bud Holtfort (left), Director, People Operations at uShip, helps load a 26-foot box truck with Hurricane Harvey donations before it leaves for Refugio, Texas and Rockport, Texas.

Hurricane Harvey has had an unprecedented impact on southeast Texas. “Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city, will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood,” said AccuWeather president Joel Myers.

Popular bridge above Interstate-45 South as drivers head toward downtown Houston before and after Harvey.

Recovery will be long for millions of people and thousands of businesses, but Texas spirit shines through – people are joining together and reaching out to lift up their neighbors in need.

If you would like to contact uShip for Hurricane Harvey Relief, please email charity@uship.com.