Nexus donates transportation services to ship donations from Chicago to Houston's Astro Dome.
Nexus Distribution has partnered with a local Chicago-based charity, Share Your Soles, to ship donations collected by local residents to the victims of Hurricane Katrina still taking refuge at the Astro Dome in Houston, TX.
Nexus is a Third Party Logistics Provider founded in 1980 by two brothers, Dean and William Hansen.
“My brother and I were talking on the phone after viewing scenes of the devastation of Katrina on the news,” explains William Hansen, President of Nexus Distribution. “We just couldn’t believe our eyes. We were tormented by the images. It was surreal that this was going on in our own backyard and there was no way to send help faster. We just had to find some way to help.”
Hansen conducted a meeting with Nexus employees to discuss the idea and formulate a plan. “It was so touching to see the reaction of our team. Everyone got behind it,” Hansen reported. Nexus team members voted to support the donation of transportation services, and even clamored to conduct a company-wide drive to collect dry food, bottled water, and other needed personal items like toothpaste and diapers. Hansen asked Nexus employees to survey all friends, family and business contacts to identify communities and organizations in need of trucking services to support Katrina victims.
Finding an avenue to provide help was surprisingly more difficult than anticipated. “We contacted local and national organizations to offer free transportation, and they were all so inundated with calls that they couldn’t take us up on the offer right away. It was frustrating because we wanted to provide immediate relief, we could see that it was needed, but it wasn’t that simple.”
Nexus finally contacted Mona Purdy of Share Your Soles, a Chicago-based charity that collects and distributes donated shoes to children in the US and across the globe. Purdy approached Nexus for donated transportation services in 2004 to ask for assistance in shipping shoes to an Indian reservation in Oklahoma. She works with Transportation providers like Nexus to coordinate drayage to ports, transfer of shoes from drive sites, and shipment of shoes to their final destinations. “We figured if anyone could organize something fast, it would be Mona,” Hansen said.
Share Your Soles was successful in holding a weekend drive at its main warehouse in Alsip, IL, collecting enough donations to fill a 53-foot trailer. Nexus Distribution sent the trailer unit first on September 8th, and then subsequently delivered the donations to the Astro Dome in Houston, TX on September 11th.
“Everything was great, the Nexus truck and driver were outstanding. [The driver] not only pulled the load he assisted us all day long,” Purdy explained.
Nexus is planning at least one more delivery out of its Allentown, PA fleet and distribution center. This shipment will contain donations assembled by a local citizen who also felt the urgent call to create a network to help hurricane victims. The shipment is still in planning stages, but will probably be destined for the Mississippi area before the end of September.
Share your Soles and Nexus were featured on Chicago's WGN-TV to generate response for the effort on Friday, September 9th. The transcript can be found by clicking here.