When it comes to helping with hurricane relief in the Caribbean (and beyond) Performance Team’s Miami facility is often in a category all by itself.
As a longtime resident of Miami, Performance Team’s Manuel “Manny” Pappaterra is no stranger to the effects of hurricanes.
But lately he and his South Florida co-workers have been rubbing elbows with these devastating storms and other calamities for a very different reason.
“Whenever disasters hit the Caribbean or Central America, our area is often the best launching point for relief supplies,” he said. “So if we’re not being hit by the hurricane or other event in question ourselves, we need to be ready to rapidly support immediate international relief efforts in any way we can.”
Pappaterra doesn’t exaggerate.
Since first being asked to help by ALAN following the Ecuador earthquake in April 2016, his company’s Miami facility has helped various organizations deliver vital humanitarian aid by providing donated warehousing space and services. As a result, it has found itself at the center of several life-changing efforts, including key cargo flights or sailings organized by Airlink and/or LIFT Non-Profit Logistics that supplied:
- 175,000 pounds (105 pallets) worth of food aid, cholera treatment and medical supplies to Haiti after 2016’s Hurricane Matthew
- $1.4 million worth medical supplies and other pharmaceuticals to citizens of Ecuador after a 7.8 Richter-scale earth quake struck there in 2016
- 21 pallets (4000+) worth of tarps to assist with short-term shelter throughout Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017
“Essentially, we receive incoming supplies from all over the United States,” he said, adding that these last-minute shipments usually arrive within a few days and typically occupy less than 6,000 square feet. “Then we consolidate them, provide value-added services like shrink-wrapping and labeling, and release them to the outgoing airport or port so they can be shipped to impacted areas. It hasn’t required a lot of time, effort or space on our part. But even if it did, I know I speak for all of us at the company when I say it would be completely worth it.”
It’s certainly worth a lot to the people on the other end – and to the players who are coordinating these shipments.
“There are many layers that go into a relief flight, so it’s crucial to have a good partner on the ground who can help us pre-position cargo in a timely and reliable fashion,” said Airlink’s Stephanie Austin. This is especially true since Airlink flights are typically among the first to reach survivors, many of whom are in dire need of things like the water purification devices, generators and antibiotics these flights carry.
LIFT’s Michael Rettig agrees: “Having a warehousing partner in an outgoing humanitarian shipment’s city always makes our lives easier. Whether it’s making sure that airway bills match up or helping to configure cargo so it will properly fit the contours of an outgoing plane, it’s often the not-so-little things that these partners do that can either make or break the success of that shipment. We appreciate Performance Team’s willingness to help so readily and so often, and we appreciate ALAN for getting them involved.”
Today, the Performance Team Miami facility has said yes to ALAN’s requests to assist with Caribbean and Latin American relief shipments so frequently that even those who are closest to these shipments have probably lost count. But that’s completely okay with Pappaterra – and his employer.
“Many of us have felt the fury of a hurricane or earthquake ourselves. We’ve also known people who are affected by them,” he said. “As a result we understand just how profoundly a hurricane can impact an operation and that people on the ground need immediate air as soon as possible, and we’re glad to be working with a corporate team that doesn’t think twice about agreeing to lend a helping hand.”
“It has added a whole new level of meaning to the work that we do.”