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When natural disasters occur across an entire community, looking through the wreckage towards the path of rebuilding can feel daunting. It can take years for a community’s natural environment to properly recover what had been destroyed within the span of a day, and it takes bold public stewardship to start that process and see it through. Fortunately, our partnership with Texas Roadhouse has provided disaster-stricken communities with that critical first step, one tree at a time.
Over the past two years, Texas Roadhouse has held several tree distribution events at its stores, generously opening their doors — and parking lot — to community members looking to rebuild their urban tree canopy. Planting partners such as Million Trees Miami and Trees Forever have distributed trees in areas that have experienced severe storm damage in recent years, including Miami, Florida; Kingwood, Texas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Mobile and Foley, Alabama; and Wilmington, North Carolina. Despite the global pandemic, businesses like Texas Roadhouse continue to find a way to give back to the communities they serve. “In the midst of a pandemic,” as one community member put it, “these trees will stand for hope and resilience.”
Planting in the wake of disaster
After Hurricane Irma destroyed an estimated 30% of Miami-Dade’s urban tree canopy in the county’s parks system alone, Texas Roadhouse helped distribute 500 trees to residents in a low-income, low-canopy neighborhood. The people who picked up their free trees were offered a variety of species, including a banana tree which provides an increase in biodiversity for the area and addresses the concern of nutritional food insecurity within the community.
In Kingwood, Texas, Trees For Houston assisted in distributing another 500 trees to a community that suffered significant destruction from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The goal of that project was designed to provide flood mitigation assistance and reduce the urban heat island effect. Additionally, the improvement of green-space aesthetic and shade for a community is always a welcomed bonus!
Over in the midwestern town of Cedar Rapids, a derecho in August of 2020 took out nearly 900,000 trees in the area, with many residents having to remove some of their own beloved trees that were destroyed. With nearly 70% of the city’s canopy gone, the trees that Texas Roadhouse distributed will serve as a hopeful symbol for the path forward. These trees will not only provide a sense of calm and beauty for the community, but also much-needed habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.
For the people of Mobile and Foley, Alabama, Texas Roadhouse was able to assist both tree distribution and planting events in several places. Due to recent severe storm damage, the communities aim to replenish several parks and nature preserves with the 260 native trees provided. The loss of shade and comfort was a particular concern for the community during the pandemic, so these trees come as a huge relief.
Read More: The Journey to Recovery in the Wake of Hurricane Michael
After suffering through hurricanes Florence, Dorian and Isaias, the city of Wilmington, North Carolina is in desperate need of a revitalized tree canopy. Fortunately, Texas Roadhouse was able to rise to the challenge and help distribute more than 1,000 trees in gallon-sized containers to residents.
Working together for recovery
Through partners like Texas Roadhouse, we are honored to be able to provide recovering communities with the helping hands they deserve. The work being done in these communities will have a lasting impact and serve as a beacon of hope throughout that area’s road to recovery.
The above post was originally published here.
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