Hurricane Harvey Aid
On August 28, 2017, Martin Preferred Foods (“MPF”) announced that, for the first time in the 74-year history of the family-owned business, weather conditions required the closure of its Houston facilities due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
“Our foremost thoughts and concerns are for the safety and welfare of our extended MPF family of 375 employees, as well as for our customers, and the people across Houston and the surrounding areas,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Tapick. “Our hearts are heavy for those among us who have suffered so much from this natural disaster.”
Despite being officially closed, on Monday afternoon, Tapick, along with MPF Chief Financial Officer, Charles Poirier, MPF Director of Security, Robert Olivo, and a handful of MPF employees who live in close proximity to the business, were able to safely reach the MPF Houston facility and open the warehouse to supply provisions to nearby customers and first responders.
“We have a number of customers in downtown Houston, including large hotels and the convention center, who are housing thousands of emergency first responders and flood evacuees, and they are running low on food,” said Tapick. “Some of those customers reached out to us and asked if there was any way we could provide some relief. Those of us who could safely get to work were able to open the warehouse and provide chicken, meat, and groceries for those most in need.”
In addition, on Monday afternoon MPF dropped off a donation of beef fajitas to a nearby Houston Police Department facility. That gesture literally brought tears to the eyes of the sergeant on duty. “Our brave first responders have been working tirelessly for days to keep us safe and out of harm’s way,” said Tapick. “This was the very least we could do to show our support and appreciation, and there’s a lot more where that came from,” Tapick added.
“I am so proud of our team,” said MPF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Tapick. “This was just a small gesture, but we think it shows how we can help our community in the coming days, weeks, and months as we rebuild from this disaster.
“We are firmly committed to doing whatever we can to support the victims of this disaster, and to help rebuild our community,” said Tapick.
A number of MPF team members have been directly impacted by the storm. MPF has committed to provide financial assistance and support to all of its employees who have lost homes or cars to the flooding. “We will absolutely take care of our team members who were severely impacted by this storm,” said Tapick. “All of our employees are part of our extended MPF family, and we will do whatever we can to help them put their lives back together and rebuild.”
Martin Preferred Foods’ physical facilities are unaffected by the flooding, with its location in the Sawyer Heights area, situated on some of the highest ground in Houston. According to Tapick, MPF had been spared any flooding or power loss. As a precaution, the facility is equipped with complete backup electric power generators for its two USDA plants and warehouse facilities, which total about 200,000 square feet of further processing, cooler, and freezer space. However, like most parts of Houston, access to the MPF plants is restricted due to flooding on major roadways.
Although rain continued to fall in the Houston area Monday night into Tuesday morning, was open for business Tuesday, August 29 for those who are safely able to travel to work.
“Given our location close to downtown, we believe we can help serve a great need to the places housing evacuees by opening our doors and supplying chicken, meat, and groceries, and at a minimum that is what we intend to do,” said Tapick.
MPF is a further processer and distributor of meat, poultry, and specialty grocery items to foodservice and retail customers across Texas and the nation. Its more than 1,800 customers include fine dining restaurants, hotels, country clubs, high-end retail, and regional and national foodservice chains.
MPF’s Disaster Preparedness team began making plans for the storm the Wednesday before it and worked in conjunction with all of its customers by producing and delivering extra product to its other locations well in advance of the storm.
MPF also diverted some of its suppliers to its Dallas warehouse and distribution facility, and shipped product to its customers from there.