News & Updates: Port Bureau News: March/April 2020

Port Bureau Members Respond Generously to Fight COVID-19, Mitigate Difficulties

Thursday, April 30, 2020  
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As the ramifications of COVID-19 intensified, the nation jumped into action to respond to shortages and help alleviate the myriad of problems brought on by the pandemic. While learning to stay home and work safe yet keep essential services and workers going, Houston’s port community responded to needs in every way imaginable. It’s impossible to track them all, but take a look at what Port Bureau members have been doing through the crisis.

Gulf Winds, Ceres Gulf Partner to Supply Sanitizer to Workers

Gulf Winds, in partnership with Ceres Gulf Inc., purchased a significant supply of hand sanitizer, from the Houston-based distillery, Gulf Coast Distillers. This supply ensured labor at Gulf Winds facilities, drivers, and team members remain safe and healthy.

Through their More Than The Move Foundation, Gulf Winds has partnered with Meals on Wheels America to help provide meals to those most at risk to COVID-19. Selling Tshirts through their link, the organization donates 100% of the proceeds to sponsor meals for vulnerable seniors. The site also accepts individual donations to support the program.

ExxonMobil Says Thanks to Houston-area COVID-19 Responders with Meals and Masks

ExxonMobil is providing thousands of meals and medical face masks for Houston-area health care workers, police officers and firefighters responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, in a new initiative that brings total contributions for Houston-area relief to $450,000.

“We want to thank those teams and individuals working around the clock to look after the people of the greater Houston area,” said Linda DuCharme, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions. “In addition to supporting health care workers and first responders, we also want to help out area restaurants and their employees who’ve been hard hit by the pandemic.”

ExxonMobil is contributing $100,000 for personal protective equipment such as medical masks to Texas Medical Center member hospitals, the Houston Police Foundation, the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston and the Spring Fire Department.

Another $100,000 will go to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund for the preparation and delivery of approximately 6,000 meals for frontline workers at these organizations.
Prominent Houston chefs will participate in the effort that will enable participating restaurants to bring needed work to furloughed staff.

Rice Establishes COVID-19 Research Fund, Offers Campus Housing for Health Care Workers

As part of a coordinated effort to combat COVID-19, Rice University has established a research accelerator fund to support projects — in biomedicine, engineering, social sciences, humanities and other fields — intended to help end the pandemic and prepare for similar outbreaks in the future.

The COVID-19 research fund is open to Rice faculty working on coronavirus-related projects. The fund will be highly flexible and allow faculty to access supplies and other resources immediately needed by research groups. It will also develop partnerships with Houston’s city government and the Texas Medical Center to support projects designed to help the community deal with both the immediate and long term effects of this global crisis.

“Rice University constantly strives to be part of the solution when we face critical challenges, whether those are local, national or global.” Rice President David Leebron said. “We are committed to doing what we can, through research and education, to empower our home city and to improve human welfare around the globe.”

“This is a university-wide effort,” said Yousif Shamoo, vice provost for research and a professor of biosciences. “We have projects that can help right now and projects that can help us in the future as we recover from this pandemic and prepare against future ones.”

The university also announced that it will work with nearby hospitals to provide health care workers with housing in two student residential buildings on Rice’s campus, which is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.

San Jacinto College Joins Collaborative Effort to Address Protective Gear Shortages

San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, University of Houston at Sugar Land, Fort Bend County Judge’s Office, TX/RX Labs, Alief ISD and Houston ISD have joined efforts to help address personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages for local area medical professionals and first responders in the fight against COVID-19. The collaborative effort – known as H-Force – is a comprehensive community partnership platform bringing together members’ resources, technologies, and expertise to address the Houston area’s needs amidst the global crisis.

“We are pleased to collaborate with our partners in education and the workforce to provide much needed protective equipment for our frontline health care workers who are working hard for our community every day,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “We know that the health and safety of our health care workers, and that of our community, is critical now more than ever. We are all willing to do our part to help thorough this H-Force initiative.”

In addition to this collaboration, San Jacinto College is printing an additional 500 face shield brackets for CHI St. Luke’s Health – Patients Medical Center in Pasadena and its affiliate in Sugar Land.


To learn more about the H-Force project or to make a material or financial donation, visit –



Memorial Hermann Hospital Receives Clinic Constructed from Converted Shipping Container from Texas A&M Students

Texas A&M University student organization BUILD, which converts shipping containers into medical clinics, sent one of its clinics to Houston-area Memorial Hermann Hospital in early April to be used in COVID-19 testing.

The students said they are incredibly proud to be able to offer this support.

“BUILD is so thrilled and honored to partner with Memorial Hermann in such a challenging time,” said Abby Launikitis ’21, BUILD CEO. “Our Texas Aggie Medical Clinics (TAMCs) may seem like a drop in the bucket, but we are trying to send them out to help as many people as possible. We are so grateful to all our sponsors big and small for supporting BUILD and allowing us this amazing opportunity to aid in the fight against COVID-19.”

Launikitis said another four clinics are under consideration for other locations.

ABS Supports U.S. Food Banks to Supply More Than 200,000 Meals

ABS is supporting its local communities suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic by donating to food banks in New York and Houston.

The $50,000 donation between the Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank for New York City will provide around 200,000 meals for communities in crisis.

“Everyone at ABS wants to support our neighbors in need at this challenging time, when food banks and those who rely on them are seeing escalating demand for their vital service. Just as we are supporting international shipping and helping to keep global trade moving during this pandemic, we must also be a good community partner as well, and make sure food reaches the many families who need it,” said  Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Houston Food Bank is supporting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people across southeast Texas with its essential services. Food Bank for New York City is providing emergency food to vulnerable New Yorkers who may be quarantined, along with those impacted by the economic downturn.

HDR Foundation Donates $300,000 to COVID-19 Response

 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HDR Foundation has announced it will make donations totaling $300,000 to two nonprofits assisting with relief efforts:

A $150,000 contribution will be made to Feeding America, which provides food assistance to more than 46 million people in the U.S. through its partnerships with 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Donations to its COVID-19 Response Fund will be used to keep local food banks stocked throughout the pandemic.

A $150,000 donation will also be provided to Direct Relief. This organization works in the U.S. and internationally to equip doctors and nurses with lifesaving medical resources. Donations to its COVID-19 Fund will support the delivery of personal protective equipment — masks, gloves and isolation gowns — to healthcare organizations on the front lines of the outbreak.

Both donations are in alignment with one of the HDR Foundation’s core pillars: to support healthcare and healthy communities. Learn more at