Local Keller Williams Agents Travel to Texas To Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Mary Prenon | October 2017

In place of its annual conference in Austin, TX this year, Keller Williams reached out to its agents across the nation to volunteer to help their fellow Keller Williams agents and local families affected by the ravaging floods from Hurricane Harvey.

In late August, the Category 4 hurricane ripped through the southern Texas coast with 130 mile-an-hour winds leaving more than 30,000 people homeless and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Jennifer Mallory, Associate Broker and Team Leader of Keller Williams Hudson Valley in New City, was one of the 4,000 agents who went to lend a hand in the Lone Star State. “I was so glad I went because it gave me a first-hand opportunity to help,” said Mallory. “I am fortunate enough to have a home and I wanted to do something for so many of these people who have lost everything.”

Mallory stayed in Austin and made a two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Houston for the four days she was there. She was stationed in a church, helping to sort thousands of donations of food, clothing and supplies. She was also part of relief crew going into destroyed homes and gutting them.

“In some homes, there was five feet of standing water and inside, the homes were completely destroyed,” she said. “People had been floating boats in their homes and about 75% of them had no flood insurance.”

Keller Williams Cares, the company’s non-profit foundation, also provided truckloads of food, generators, blankets and supplies. In addition, the foundation spent more than $1 million, providing each Keller Williams agent affected by the storm, and their immediate families, with $5,000. Mallory added that Keller Williams Cares has vowed to raise $20 million for local families, as well as those victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

“The company is also asking all Keller Williams locations to adopt a Keller Williams family to help with whatever needs they have,” said Mallory.

Michael Marciano, Associate Broker with Keller Williams in White Plains, was also in Austin helping with the relief efforts. His group was bused to different charities every day to help sort donations. “Normally, these places were run by just a few people, so they really needed help,” he said. They worked in shifts of 100 people, opening donations and organizing them. “It was like doing three months-worth of work in just one day,” he added.

Marciano was there for just two days, but he said the experience was a real eye-opener. “People’s entire lives were on the curb—it was very traumatic for them. I felt like I just had to go and do my part to help,” he said.

Both Marciano and Mallory found local residents were completely overwhelmed, but were so thankful for everyone’s help.

“People were stopping us on the street to thank us,” said Mallory. She also spoke with a group who had helped a recent elderly widow locate her family photo albums. “Something like this could have happened to any of us,” she added. “We can’t just wait for the government to step in—we all have to help.”

All of the monies collected by Keller Williams Cares go directly to those in need. The company handles the administrative costs. Anyone can donate at kwcares.org.

HGAR asks any member organization that has established relief efforts for the hurricane victims in Texas, Puerto Rico and other affected areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria to send donation contact information to mary.prenon@hgar.com so that it can be disseminated to the HGAR membership

Mary Prenon
HGAR, Director of Communications