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How small businesses made a big impact in their communities during hurricane season

(Photo credit: @ABC/Twitter)

A record-breaking hurricane season has gripped the news for weeks as Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and Florida just days after Hurricane Harvey caused massive destruction in Houston. With over 30,000 displaced in Texas and millions without power in Florida, not to mention the devastation all across the Caribbean, many are donating to hurricane relief. But while some big businesses have pledged millions, it’s the helping hands from entrepreneurs and small business owners that have touched the hearts of those suffering the greatest losses.

We said to hell with profits, let’s take care of people.

Here are some examples of small businesses and sole proprietors making a big difference.

Gallery Furniture

Houston’s own Jim McIngvale aka: Mattress Mack opened the doors to his showrooms and warehouses offering shelter to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey. “We said to hell with profits, let’s take care of people,” he says in an ABC News video. Above and beyond that generous (and potentially profit-destroying) move, he and his employees rescued stranded people with their delivery trucks. Though Harvey hit late August, Gallery Furniture and Mattress Mack are still going strong, collecting donations of food, water and cleaning supplies from around the country and arranging pick ups for community members who were most affected.

LuminAID

After Hurricane Irma, power is expected to be out for weeks in much of Florida. Enter LuminAid, a Chicago-based company that created portable, waterproof solar-powered lights. They sent 1,500 lights to Texas following Hurricane Harvey and another 2,500 to those affected by Hurricane Irma. The company’s founders, Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork, appeared on Shark Tank (America’s version of Dragons’ Den) in 2015, accepting an offer from Mark Cuban for $200,000. Luckily for victims, they’ve put that funding to good use.

Kids4Community

This non-profit organization that seeks to engage kids five and older in charitable work was started by California teenager Kenan Pala. When the wunderkind heard about the devastation in Houston, he rallied his young troops to collect donations and assemble hygiene kits for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Some scientists suggest that while hurricanes and other tropical storms will be less frequent, it’s likely they will grow in intensity. Let’s hope entrepreneurs like these keep creating a good example and showing up to help the affected communities when they’re needed.

Do you know any small business owners or individuals in your community who’ve stepped up in times of natural disaster?