Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Atlantic storm in recorded history. With 185-mile-per-hour winds, the Category 5 storm wrought havoc on Florida and the Caribbean in August and September 2017. It left in its path in damage estimated between $100 billion and $300 billion, and a death toll of more than 100 people.
In the wake of such tragedy, communities came together in support of one another to start rebuilding as soon as possible. Smoothie King locations in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and Southeastern Florida were just some of the local businesses eager to give their time and efforts to help their neighbors affected by the storm.
“Smoothie King is not just one big corporate entity – it’s made up of hundreds of small business, local businesses,” said Kimberly Higgins, Smoothie King regional marketing manager. “Community outreach is one of the core values of Smoothie King as a whole, but it became even more crucial for many after Hurricane Irma. It was amazing to see how many people wanted to get involved and help out as much as they could.”
Service with a Purpose Brings Communities Together
Area franchisees, along with Kimberly – who works with 185 Smoothie King locations across Florida and Georgia – decided to come together in a series of projects to help out their communities. This began brand’s Service with a Purpose community outreach initiative.
“We had ongoing efforts to help out, but we decided we would all spend one day – September 30 – and dedicate all our time and manpower to get out in the community and give back,” said Kimberly.
Restoring a Beloved Community Park
Smoothie King team members in Southeastern Florida spent their day cleaning up Miami’s Kendale Lakes Park, an important community gathering place that regularly served as the setting for afterschool programs. Tree damage from Hurricane Irma made the park inaccessible. But, after hours of arduous work, the park was restored to its prior beauty and functionality.
“It was unrecognizable after the damage from Irma,” said Kimberly. “But after they were all done, it was great, and people could get back to their regular activities there and have some normalcy. The Smoothie King team members from that area all got up early and worked all day. It was really cool.”
Smoothie King Partnering with Local and National Organizations
Kimberly, along with Tampa Bay Smoothie King team members, dedicated their time to volunteer at a local shelter for families with sick children. They helped with chores and cooking for the families to make sure everyone was able to continue eating satisfying, delicious meals.
Orlando Smoothie King team members decided to give back by partnering with Clean The World, an organization that provides hygiene kits for relief organizations, along with a comprehensive water and sanitation program. These kits were sent to Puerto Rico to help those who were affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, which followed Irma just two weeks later.
Jacksonville Smoothie King team members led their community outreach by restoring local housing and helping rebuild their community from the ground up.
Smoothie King Continuing Efforts in 2018
“Even though the Service with a Purpose initiative was started as a direct response to Hurricane Irma, we will definitely continue these service efforts to give back throughout 2018 and beyond,” said Kimberly. “We are also hoping to expand the initiative to other franchisees. It was so wonderful to see neighbor helping neighbor, and there is always more work to be done to help out our communities.”
If you are interested in starting your own business with a community-oriented international brand, download our franchise kit and become a Smoothie King franchisee today.