Retailer commits up to $20 million for relief, recovery efforts
HOUSTON — In response to the devastation in the Texas Gulf Coast region, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are donating up to $20 million to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Walmart said Wednesda0y evening that its support includes $10 million for American Red Cross shelters and $2 million for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
The aid package marks a major increase from the $1 million in cash and product donations for immediate relief that Walmart pledged late last week as Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Coast. The retailer announced the commitment yesterday at press briefing with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“Our Texas family of customers and associates are experiencing devastating impact from this storm,” Walmart president and chief executive officer Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We are on the ground to help our friends and neighbors in the Gulf region, and we’ll continue to be in the tough days, weeks and months ahead.”
As part of a campaign with the American Red Cross, Walmart is matching customer donations at checkout two to one with cash and product donations of up to $10 million to support the organization’s disaster relief efforts. Walmart said its initial focus will be on mega-shelters, providing basic needs such as water, infant formula, diapers, underwear and personal hygiene products.
To offer more comfort to victims of Harvey’s massive flooding throughout the region, the retailer will also provide such items as televisions, DVDs, games and stuffed animals for children and healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit.
“In the midst of the worst storm this region has ever seen, it is wonderful to see corporate partners such as Walmart step up and help Houstonians,” Turner stated. “We are rebuilding, and with these funds we will be able to help Houstonians return to normality. I would like to thank Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon for his generosity and challenge others to join in this effort.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation also have earmarked 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, along with other organizations helping with food distribution, sheltering and cleanup efforts.
Local stores in the Gulf region have provided food, merchandise and other supplies, such as baby formula, batteries and kayaks to first responders, the National Guard, police and fire departments, churches and shelter organizations, the company said.
On its website, Walmart listed approximately 130 stores in Texas and Louisiana as being impacted by Hurricane Harvey, including Walmart Supercenters, Walmart Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Clubs. As of Wednesday evening, 45 locations had reopened, with the rest closed or still working to reopen. Overall, Walmart operates nearly 600 stores in Texas.
Walmart’s other relief efforts in the storm’s aftermath include the following:
• Shipping more than 1,060 truckloads of supplies to the impacted areas, including over 930 truckloads of water.
• Deploying a mobile pharmacy staffed with Walmart pharmacists in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. Another pharmacy is being sent to Houston to provide free prescription-related counseling to evacuees.
• Working to help Walmart associates in the impacted 16 counties of Texas. The company said it has received calls from more than 11,000 associates and is helping in various ways, such as providing access to earned wage and disaster support assistance, setting up support centers in the impacted areas, providing hot meals to families and calling associates to conduct wellness checks.
• Centralizing relief efforts via the Walmart Emergency Operations Center, which operates round-the-clock in tracking storm impacts and supporting associates’ needs and well-being. The EOC also facilitates store recovery and is supporting community relief efforts in the Gulf region.
• Supporting the George R. Brown Convention Center sheltering operation in Houston with truckloads of food and water and comforts like board games, TVs, clothing and every day essentials.
• Providing subject matter experts in logistics and emergency management to help local emergency operations centers in with establishing local shelters.
Walmart said will continue to deliver water and emergency supplies to the areas in greatest need throughout the region, including cleaning supplies, pet food, batteries, diapers, baby formula, hand sanitizer, first aid supplies, fans, generators, candles, flashlights, propane, rainwear, tarps, gas cans and related items.
The customer campaign runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6. Customers can donate any amount to the American Red Cross at registers in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores or on Walmart.com and Samsclub.com. For every $1 donated, Walmart will contribute $2 in cash or products to the American Red Cross, up to $10 million.