From retailers to suppliers—and even a restoration company—businesses are doing what they can to aid those that live and work in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Businesses coming to the rescue include Kroger, regional grocer Publix, Walmart and Ready Pac Foods.
In addition, the Anaheim, California-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council (FPFC) has made a $10,000 donation to the American Red Cross relief effort.
“Many of our member companies have links to the Houston area, and we felt that this was the best way for us to help those affected by this horrible devastation,” said FPFC staff president Carissa Mace. The FPFC encourages anyone looking to help to donate any one of the relief efforts, including the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief fund.
Aldi said 21 of its locations remain closed Aug. 30, including stores in Alvin, Crosby, Houston, Humble, Kemah, Missouri City, Pasadena, Pearland, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, Sugarland, Victoria and Webster. The company with U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Illinois, also opened several stores with a limited supply in the affected areas in Texas from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 30.
Aldi will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to the city of Rosenberg, Texas, to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. In addition, the company is working with Feeding America to distribute 1,000 disaster relief boxes filled with canned fruits and vegetables, granola bars, peanut butter and utensils.
Hundreds of Aldi employees packed the boxes during a service day at the company’s headquarters in Batavia, Illinois, to support individuals and families displaced from their homes due to natural disasters. The June event was part of the company’s long-standing partnership with Feeding America to prepare essentials that could be quickly deployed when needed. Each box contains more than 35 ALDI products. Aldi is further assisting by arranging transportation of these supplies to the Southeast Texas Food Bank in Beaumont, Texas.
“It’s important to help build strong communities in the places we operate and to support our neighbors in times of need,” said Karla Waddleton, VP of the ALDI Rosenberg division, which includes Houston and surrounding areas. “We’re committed to helping families, employees and friends recover and rebuild.”
More than 300 out of approximately 500 Walgreens stores in southeast Texas and Louisiana are now open. Local Walgreens field leaders and store teams are working to reopen the other stores and restore pharmacy services as soon as possible.
Walgreens is supporting relief efforts in Southeast Texas through a number of initiatives in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Walgreens is donating food items, first aid and medical equipment including blood pressure cuffs, glucometer strips, catheters and transport wheelchairs to the American Red Cross emergency shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Walgreens is working with United Airlines to transport the first aid and medical items from Chicago to Houston on a flight with relief supplies.
In preparation for Hurricane Harvey, Walgreens staged portable generators throughout southeast Texas and deployed them to a number of stores. Walgreens provided one of those generators to the City of Victoria, Texas, to support its city facilities.
“Our hearts go out to the people in Southeast Texas who are going through tremendous personal losses from Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that has followed,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations. “We stand ready to continue to support our customers and employees who live in the region.”
Walgreens has committed to a $200,000 donation to the American Red Cross relief efforts, and customers also can donate to the American Red Cross at approximately 8,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Customers can make donations for relief efforts at store checkouts beginning today.
Kroger is asking its customers to give money to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar or making a cash donation when they visit their local Kroger. Customers’ donations will assist the American Red Cross in providing aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“Kroger customers have shown time and time again they are very compassionate and always willing to help those in need,” said Felix Turner, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Atlanta division. “Every contribution will allow the Red Cross to provide assistance to the victims of this devastating storm. We are encouraging all of our customers to come together as we ‘round up’ support for victims and help in the much-needed relief efforts.”
Kroger began accepting donations at all 186 of its Atlanta division stores on Monday, Aug. 28, and will continue through Sunday, Sept. 3.
The Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund will use Kroger customers’ donations to deliver food, water, clothing and other necessities to help displaced residents and victims.
The Kroger Co. Foundation also has committed $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank, America’s largest food bank serving 600 hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties, to supply operational support and meals to families affected by the floods. For every social share of the #KrogerCares Facebook post, the Foundation has pledged to donate $5 to the Food Bank, up to $100,000 (Editor’s note: The post has more than reached the number of shares needed for the maximum donation).
“We are quickly mobilizing our resources—food, dollars, vendors, community partners, customers and associates—to do our part to help the Greater Houston community and its residents during this devastating and unprecedented storm,” said Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s group VP of corporate affairs. “We know that meals matter, and it’s imperative that we help feed and support Texans during this trying time.”
“Kroger is showing extraordinary compassion and commitment to our community by stepping forward so quickly with this gift to the Houston Food Bank,” said Brian Greene, president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank. “Kroger’s donation will help us where we need it most: securing trucks, forklifts and temporary staffing. These assets are vital and essential to the Food Bank. Without them, we are unable to move food into areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. We’ve never had to respond to such widespread devastation, so our need for operational help is higher than it’s ever been.”
Across the country, customers can visit select Kroger Family of Stores to make a cash donation that will benefit the American Red Cross. Kroger is also inviting its 443,000 associates to join the cause as well as support fellow associates in the Houston area affected by the storm through Helping Hands, an internal fundraising effort.
Along with monetary giving, Kroger will continue to aid rescue organizations, shelters and first responders with food, water and toiletries. The mobile Kroger Pharmacy is en route to the Houston region to help refill customers’ prescriptions, provide immunizations and perform blood pressure and glucose screenings.
“This storm has ravaged our city, but I know the heart and resilience of Houstonians: we can and will overcome this,” said Marlene Stewart, Kroger’s president of the Houston division. “Kroger is working tirelessly to help support recovery, rescue and relief efforts. We will be here every step of the way.”
For a list of open store locations in Greater Houston, as of today, call 1-800-KROGERS or visit TheKrogerCo.com.
At 7 a.m. Aug. 29, Publix Super Markets began collecting money at the register for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Money will be donated to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief efforts. Customers are encouraged to stop by and support the victims and relief efforts to help them during their time of need.
In anticipation of Hurricane Harvey, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have made a commitment to provide support for relief efforts through cash and product donations of at least $1 million to organizations helping in response to the severe weather impacting Texas and Louisiana. As a part of this commitment, Walmart is working closely with organizations like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope while coordinating efforts with elected officials and governmental entities to help meet the needs of those affected.
“We are concerned for the people in the path of this potentially devastating storm,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation, in advance of Harvey’s landfall. “We are actively supporting local response efforts and will continue to be there for our customers, friends, family, fellow associates and neighbors in the Gulf Coast.”
With close to 600 stores and Sam’s Club locations throughout Texas, Walmart says it is ready to use its size and strength to support South Texas. The Walmart Emergency Operations Center (EOC)—the company’s centralized platform for crisis coordination with store operations, logistics and several other teams—is in full activation and is dedicated to helping stores, clubs and customers in the wake of the storm, says Walmart.
The Walmart EOC was in constant communication with stores and clubs and accelerated deliveries of bottled water, ready-to-eat foods, flashlights, batteries, fuel containers and other emergency items throughout South Texas as residents stocked up on essential items.
The company also has programs in place to assist associates personally that may be impacted by the storm.
Walmart has a long history of supporting communities around the globe impacted by disaster. In the last 10 years, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated more than $60 million in cash and in-kind donations in response to disaster events, which includes the recent floods and tornadoes in Texas.
Tips for business owners and commercial property managers affected by Harvey
As record wind and rain from Hurricane Harvey pound the Texas gulf coast region, local business owners and property managers need a solid plan for dealing with the damage left behind, says ServiceMaster Restore, a provider of residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fire, smoke or mold.
In some cases, the magnitude of damage is likely to be overwhelming, and without a thoughtful plan on what to do (and not do), companies and commercial properties risk incurring even greater damages.
“We haven’t seen this type of storm strength come ashore here in over 55 years, and it hit land with a vengeance,” said Peter Duncanson, director of operations and safety for ServiceMaster Restore, one of the largest disaster restoration companies in the nation and part of ServiceMaster Global Holdings. “When the storm passes and the rain stops, the stability of buildings, utilities and safety will be a major concern for everyone.”
Duncanson has been with the business for more than 32 years and is chairman of the board of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, which develops standards for the restoration industry. During this time, he has helped lead restoration efforts for more hurricanes and natural disasters than he can count, he says, and has learned some important lessons to share with those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
While most people know to call their insurance company, here are some things to keep in mind before going onsite:
- Have site plans in hand: Review and be prepared to share site plans with your insurance company, local officials and your restoration company.
- Re-enter only when cleared: If your property has sustained structural damage, do not re-enter until authorities have advised you that it is safe to do so. Even then, be extremely cautious and be aware that the structural integrity could be compromised.
- Respect electricity: It’s important to note, any time water is above the level where outlets are, electrical circuitry is compromised. Always use extreme caution and assume that any downed or exposed wire is live. Avoid areas where there is standing water. Be careful around electronics or office equipment that may have come into contact with water or may have moved due to rising water.
- Use personal protective equipment at all times: Don’t allow anyone to compromise their personal safety or endanger others. Insist that everyone on your property wear necessary safety equipment, from proper footwear and vests to gloves, glasses, hardhats and more at all times.
- Secure your property: Allow authorized access only. Make sure you know who is on-site and that they present proper identification.
- Avoid touching contaminated items: Any item that has come in contact with flood water or storm surge is contaminated and should be considered hazardous, even after it dries. This water can contain all sorts of biological and chemical waste, including animal remains, fecal matter, petroleum products and more.
- Log all inventory and damage: Once it is safe to enter your facility, take photos of the damage, noting things like water lines on walls; cabinetry, walls and doorways that may be warped; equipment that is damaged, and the contents of your property.
- Leave it to the pros: When dealing with floodwater, storm surge, structural damage and other serious after-effects from Hurricane Harvey, rely on a trusted professional to help you get your business back in business. You will likely be approached by a variety of individuals who want to help. Protect yourself, your property and your livelihood and only work with professionals who are experienced, thoroughly trained in the services needed, and who are properly insured.