Retail pharmacy focuses support on Gulf Coast region

HOUSTON — One week following Hurricane Harvey, the Gulf region where that powerful storm made landfall is beginning to put the pieces back together. For example, Walmart, among other retailers have reported the reopening of all stores with the exception of a handful of locations impacted by flooding.

Similarly, Walreens has about 450 locations open in southeast Texas and Louisiana, with about 50 currently closed. In addition to reopening stores Walgreens customers throughout the country have donated $5 million to the American Red Cross relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. Walgreens has also contributed $200,000 to the America Red Cross. And Walgreens has set up pharmacy services in the GRB convention center in Houston to assist with prescription needs and donated food items, first aid and medical equipment including blood pressure cuffs, glucometer strips and transport wheelchairs to the convention center.

And CVS Pharmacy announced Tuesday that it is deploying additional emergency pharmacy resources and general assistance to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  A mobile pharmacy unit has been set up outside the NRG Center in Houston, where evacuees are now able to pick up prescriptions, purchase over-the-counter medications and receive recommended vaccines. 

Additionally, CVS Pharmacy, in cooperation with the Texas Department of State Health Services, will provide pharmacy services to Texas residents who have been displaced by the Hurricane through "pop up" pharmacies that are being deployed at emergency shelters in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. "Pop up" pharmacies place pharmacists and pharmacy personnel at the shelters to counsel patients and facilitate the delivery of prescriptions from nearby pharmacies. Through this arrangement, CVS Pharmacy will be able to fill a one-time "emergency" prescription, up to a 30-day supply, for shelter residents who are displaced or without their medication.

“Following Hurricane Harvey, we once again are seeing pharmacy personnel putting first the needs of their patients and community,” noted Steven Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “As in previous natural disasters, company-wide and industry-wide efforts are reaching out to the affected areas—and NACDS is performing its role as well,” he said. “First in our hearts and minds are those who have seen their lives turned on end by Hurricane Harvey, and those who are working right now to assist them,” Anderson added. “It is an honor to help fulfill [a service] role today, with so much important work underway for the people of Texas and Louisiana. Thank you for all you are doing to help and lead at this critical time.”

"While the true impact won't be known for years to come, it's clear that Hurricane Harvey will go on record as one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history, forever changing the lives of millions of people across Texas and other affected areas," stated Ken Martindale, Rite Aid CEO of stores, president of Rite Aid Corporation and president of The Rite Aid Foundation. "As relief efforts continue and rebuilding begins, The Rite Aid Foundation hopes that this donation to the American Red Cross will help make a difference to those most affected by this devastating storm."

The Rite Aid Foundation pledged a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims, families and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The CVS Health Foundation pledged $200,000 towards relief and recovery efforts and the CVS Health Foundation will also match colleague donations up to $25,000.

For its part, Walmart, which has already committed $20 million in cash and in-kind donations to the region, continued to accelerate deliveries of water and emergency supplies to the stores throughout the region, with a focus on bread, milk and dairy products, cleaning supplies, pet food, diapers, baby formula, hand sanitizer, clothing essentials like socks and underwear, pillows and towels.

Walmart has currently shipped 1,219 truckloads to the impacted areas, including more than 961 truckloads of water.

Other Hurricane Harvey outreach efforts from the retail sector in the  past week included:

  • Ahold USA and its brands – Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Landover, and Giant Food Stores of Carlisle – on Tuesday announced donations totaling $250,000 to help with relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey. The donations, comprised of $175,000 in cash donations and additional donations of $75,000 in needed food and supplies, will be made to the hardest hit areas in Texas to help families affected by the recent storm. In addition, select store locations of Ahold USA brands will serve as collection points for canned and packaged food;
  • The McKesson Foundation is donating $100,000 to nonprofit Direct Relief and $150,000 of in-kind donation of medical supplies to World Vision. The supplies include items such as bandages, diapers, nebulizer kits, coolers, blankets, tissues, shampoo/body wash, antiseptic gel and latex gloves. McKesson also partnered with the Red Cross, providing access to warehouse space in Corpus Christi for relief efforts. The company provided supplies to the temporary shelter at the VFW Community Center (diapers, baby food, drinks, food) and other supplies to the National Guard stationed at Katy High School;
  • The AmerisourceBergen Foundation is matching all associate donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund up to $20,000. And the Foundation is making $10,000 donations to area organizations;
  • In addition to giving shoppers the opportunity to donate, Publix Super Markets Charities is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts for the affected areas;
  • To date, H‑E‑B has donated a total of $1 million, which includes Food Bank donations, Disaster Relief Units and monetary commitments. In addition, H‑E‑B has donated more than 62,000 cases of water, or 39 truckloads, to people and communities in need throughout storm affected areas across Texas, as well as more than 45,000 bags of ice, or 12 truckloads, to communities affected by the storm;
  • Target will donate $500,000 to aid in Harvey recovery relief efforts. The donation will be distributed to local and national disaster relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Team Rubicon. Target’s distribution and supply chain teams provided extra products to stores, including batteries, flashlights, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food;
  • To support relief efforts, Amazon and Whole Foods Market will match cash donations made via Amazon — up to $1 million total — to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief; and
  • The Kroger Foundation has committed $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank. The Foundation will donate $5, up to $100,000, for every social media share of the #KrogerCares post. Kroger will also give customers the opportunity to donate in stores.
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