SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley sustained massive amounts of flooding in late February because of a breach in Coyote Creek. U-Haul, the leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage, is helping San Jose flood victims and other impacted community members recover in multiple ways.
Due to the flooding, more than 50,000 people had to leave their homes in San Jose. With precious belongings lost, morale was low.
“Coyote Creek has been spilling over and causing real damage,” U-Haul Company of South Bay president Kam Barn said. “U-Haul is part of these communities and we are privileged to help these families in times of disaster.”
U-Haul Steps Up
Eleven U-Haul Company-owned stores offered 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage to residents of San Jose and the surrounding areas. But one U-Haul Team Member went a step further to assist.
U-Haul General Manager Nicolas Lopez III was contacted by Robin Okada, a registered nurse at Stanford Medical Center. Struggling in this time of disaster, many flood victims had no insurance. Okada was seeking support. With the help of social media and U-Haul, a donation drive began.
“The response was overwhelming,” Okada told The Mercury News. “People were quite generous. They weren’t giving us broken-down furniture; they were giving things they easily could have sold.”
Redwood City community members were encouraged to donate items such as mattresses, blankets, sheets, clothes, canned food and water. The turnout was larger than Okada anticipated. She knew her vehicle would not be capable to transport all the donations received.
U-Haul Helps with Trucks
“I told Robin that I would have our U-Haul trucks ready for her,” Lopez said. “U-Haul is glad to help the community and the families that lost their belongings during this time of need.”
With the assistance of a substantial discount, Okada left the U-Haul facility with a 17-foot moving truck and a 20-foot moving truck. Lopez knew the positive impact this drive would have on the community and therefore wanted to make it easy for Okada to help as many people as possible.
Donations continued to flow in as a result of social media and word of mouth. “We had to rent (the second U-Haul) truck,” Okada told The Mercury News. “We were turning people away.”
With both U-Haul trucks filled to capacity, Okada was finally ready. Her destination was Selma Olinder Elementary School in San Jose. Upon arrival, the San Jose flood victims came to the school and gratefully accepted the supplies they needed.
U-Haul recently donated trucks for a food drive in Texas as well. Read more about that act of kindness at myuhaulstory.com.