Retailers promote cleanups, not cookouts

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Retailers promote cleanups, not cookouts

By Mike Troy - 08/31/2017

The retail industry was out in force before, during and after Hurricane Harvey making a difference in the lives of those impacted by the storm.

The three day Labor Day weekend is normally a time of retail sales and end of summer cookouts, but not for retailers who operate stores in southeast Texas and Louisiana or residents whose lives were devastated by extreme flooding. Many of the nation’s leading retailers quickly stepped up to make a difference in recovery efforts by leverage their online presence and physical locations as collection points for customer donations. They also wrote large checks to charitable organizations and marshalled their supply chains to quickly reopen stores one danger passed to ensure essential products flowed into hard hit areas. Retailers own employees, many of whom also were affected, donated their time, compassion and hard work to help others in need.

"The retail community is consistently on the front lines in providing much needed relief for Americans dealing with disaster," said Lisa LaBruno, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations with the Retail Industry Leaders Association. "Hurricane Harvey is no exception. Whether it's providing water, medical supplies, fuel and shelter, retailers are doing everything they can to help communities rebuild in the wake of devastation. As retail faces these challenges head on, we are committed to providing hope to those that need it most."

(Editor’s note: the information below is intended to highlight the retail industry’s considerable contributions to disaster relief and should be viewed as a sampling of those efforts rather than a comprehensive listing.)

Walmart: The company donated $1 million to the American Red Cross before Harvey even made landfall but soon after the extent of flooding became apparent the amount from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation was increased to $20 million. That amount includes $10 million focused on support of American Red Cross shelters and $2 million in support of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation. In addition, Walmart launched a customer campaign with the American Red Cross in which Walmart is matching customer donations two to one with cash and product donations of up to $10 million.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will also give additional cash and product donations totaling $10 million to support the Salvation Army, Feeding America, Convoy of Hope, Team Rubicon and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, as well as other organizations assisting food distribution, sheltering and cleanup efforts.

The Home Depot: The nation’s largest home improvement retailer donated $1 million to organizations including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon to support short-term relief and rebuilding needs.

Lowe’sLowe’s donated $500,000 to American Red Cross and is working with national nonprofit partners to provide both immediate and long-term support to local communities, including thousands of employees volunteering with cleanup efforts.

Dollar Tree: The company is donating $500,000 of financial support as part of its efforts to support communities and associates affected by the recent storms in Texas and Louisiana.

Amazon/Whole Foods: Amazon’s deal to acquire Austin-based Whole Foods closed on Aug. 28 and the combined company’s approach to disaster relief was to match donation’s made via the Amazon Web site up to $1 million. Customers donated that amount in a matter of days and Amazon and Whole Foods match the amount with a donation to the American Red Cross. In addition, the company said its operations team was pulling critically need items from inventory to donate to first responder and Amazon Web Service was working with NGO’s and adapting apps to disaster use cases.

Target: Local and national disaster relief organizations received $3,500,000 from Target including American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Team Rubicon, an organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to quickly deploy emergency response teams.

H-E-B: The Texas-based supermarket chain donated $1 million in cash and merchandise to disaster relief groups.

Kroger: The supermarket chain donated $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank as part of a program that required social sharing of #KrogerCares. For each share the company donated $5 to the food bank which serves 600 hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties.

Aldi: The discount grocer donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to the city of Rosenberg and worked with Feeding America to distribute 1,000 disaster relief boxes.

Kohls: Donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross in addition to an estimated $1 million in financial support to employees significantly impacted by the storm.

Walgreens: Donated $200,000 to the American Red Cross and also donated food, first aid and medical equipment to the emergency shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The retailer also coordinated with United Airlines to transport first aid and medical items from Chicago to Houston. And in advance of the storm, Walgreens deployed generators to stores throughout southeast Texas and Louisiana which enabled the retailer to reopen 300 of its 500 stores in the region by Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Dollar General: The operator of more than 14,000 stores nationwide donated $50,000 to American Red Cross and also leveraged its expansive store network as collection points for customer donations.