K of C Procurement Buyer Jessica Cohane Shares Five Insights on K of C Disaster Relief
10/17/2018By Andrew Butler
Hurricane Michael made landfall as the fourth strongest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. When disaster strikes, the Knights of Columbus is among the first to order supplies and deliver them to those in need.
Jessica Cohane, who works for the Knights of Columbus Procurement Department, shared her insights on K of C Disaster Relief.
1. When you hear that a Category 4 hurricane is on its way, what is your initial reaction?
It's one of those situations where you pray for the best, but prepare for the worst. In a situation like this, with Hurricane Michael, we just knew there were going to be a lot of people in need and we were eager to hit the ground running and assist in whatever way we could.
2. How do you know what supplies are needed and where to send them?
My role is to coordinate the shipments and get the supplies into the hands of the people that need them. Typically, we start with food and water as that's what's most essential. As we move through the days following the storm, the members in the affected areas will communicate back to us what needs have transpired. Our Home Office Fraternal Team has really done an amazing job at connecting with the members in the affected areas, setting up staging locations and distribution centers, and keeping in constant contact with the councils.
3. What's the most important thing you do to help disaster relief? Do you have a proudest moment?
I think the most important thing would just be getting those impacted by the storm the things that they need that they can't get themselves. I'm glad to know they have water, they will have meals, and that as they assess their needs after the impact of the storm, we can continue to send them things to keep them going and make the event a little less terrible for them. I don't necessarily have a proudest moment, I'm honored and privileged to be involved in this process and to help however I can.
4. What is the communication process like?
The Fraternal Mission Team, primarily Scott Read and Jason Porrello, organize a daily phone call prior to the storm, during the storm (if possible), and after the storm. We stay in very close touch with the representatives from each affected area. We stayed in contact regarding Hurricane Florence for a full week after everything settled down. The members on these calls always have stories about how the supplies we've sent have helped them during these difficult situations and how comforted they feel to have the support of the Home Office staff.
5. Is there anything people might be surprised to hear about disaster relief?
I think people would be surprised to know just how much people are willing to help their neighbors and their communities in a time of need. When able, Knights and their families go to extraordinary lengths to help anyone who needs it, and I'm very proud to be a part of that and to witness it firsthand.
Your help is needed. With 100 percent of your donation going directly to relief efforts, your gift will make a big difference. Donate now.
Andrew Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org