Brothers Produce CEO Brent Erenwert Talks Hurricane Florence and Relief Efforts
- by Lillie Apostolos
HOUSTON, TX - As Hurricane Florence approaches the Carolinas, many are beginning to wonder how they are going to get their hands on much-needed food, daily items, and sundries. Amidst what is estimated to be one of the largest storms to hit the southeast coast line, Brent Erenwert, CEO for Brothers Produce, is hearing a call and creating action, as he collects foods and other items to help those in need during this difficult and heartbreaking time. Brent has teamed up with Produce Alliance and the Ricky Davis Foundation for hurricane contributions.
“I want to raise awareness now so that we can get product moving in that direction as soon as possible,” Brent tells me about the relief efforts. “What happened during last year’s hurricane season created chaos in those regions. It took us four to five days to get in there and provide our services. The food industry can only do so much, but we are in an industry where we have access to everything that is needed.”
As Brent dives feet first into hurricane relief, I ask what kinds of goods he is collecting. Amongst everyday necessities like water, diapers, clothes, and the like, he expands on the foods he is welcoming with particular vigor.
“I’m working with several distributors for bananas, oranges, apples, and potatoes. I try to do a lot of items that need little to no refrigeration in case there is a power issue in shelters,” he shares. “We don’t know where this storm is going to center, and what will happen when it passes.”
To build power behind this Florence initiative, Brent tells me that there are some key outlets, but it all comes down to getting in touch with him personally to get the produce and necessities into the hands of those who need them.
“The power of social media is strong, and I have already received several inquiries, so people are ready, willing, and eager. If someone wants to help, contact me personally, as I am dedicating all my time to this effort. I will personally ensure product is placed where it needs to go,” Brent expresses.
The proof is in the pudding, and Brent has shown this with his efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, when he gathered the troops—a collection of his friends, family, and professional network—to move forward with swift assistance. Whether it was money or needed supplies, donations were sent to Brent for Harvey recovery.
“Last year, I was able to raise $50,000 and provide almost $200,000 in product donations when Harvey hit. This industry really stood out above and beyond—we came together to feed and help a lot of people,” he says. “It was a group effort.”
On that token, Brent shares that the hard work to help those in need bars no one. He is calling on his forces here, in the industry, and well beyond to do what they can to assist the cause.
“There is always somebody that can help out somewhere. Just because the storm hits in a certain area doesn’t mean that everyone can’t jump in and help,” he explains.
It’s notions like Brent’s, when we see industry leaders create opportunities to make lives healthier and happier in what can be seen as the scariest moments, that make us truly shine.
For those wanting to reach Brent for assistance or to assist, please email him or call his cell phone for instructions on how to help:
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Florence over the weekend.