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Retailers step in with donations in wake of Hurricane Irma

BY David Salazar

As communities in Florida begin to recover from the impact of Hurricane Irma, retailers have begun stepping in to provide funds to help ease the process. CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation on Tuesday committed $125,000 in cash and in-kind product donations to organizations helping with relief efforts.

"We are dismayed by the effects of Hurricane Irma across Florida and the impact it's having on our customers and colleagues in the community," CVS Health Foundation president and CVS Health SVP corporate social responsibility and philanthropy Eileen Howard Boone said. "We will continue to do all we can to ensure that residents affected by this natural disaster have continued access to the support and supplies they need to recover and rebuild."

The CVS Health Foundation will donate $50,000 to the Florida Disaster Fund, and it will match employee donations to the CVS Health Employee Relief Fund up to $25,000. It also has donated $25,000 worth of water to the American Red Cross. In areas impacted by Hurricane Irma, CVS Pharmacy and CVS Caremark are allowing pharmacists to provide on-time emergency refills of a 10-day supply of medication for plan members. The company had previously donated more than $400,000 in cash and in-kind donation in response to Hurricane Harvey.

Also stepping in with money and in-kind donations was Target, which announced a commitment of up to $1 million for Target team members, as well as national local and international relief organizations. This commitment is on top of Target’s previously committed $3.5 million in Hurricane Harvey relief resources.

“In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, I have been moved by the remarkable outpouring of support and commitment from people around the country,” Target CEO and chairman Brian Cornell said. “While we’re in the earliest stages of relief along the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, we’ll stand with our Target team and be there to support the community on the long road to recovery. Similar to Hurricane Harvey, we know that providing the financial resources and products that families need is the greatest impact Target can make. Target today is proud to commit up to $1 million to be there for our team, guests and communities through this difficult time.”

The company set up a disaster relief fund administered by Global Impact to support Target team members, matching employee donations up to $1 million. It also is offering affected team members shifts at neighboring Target stores and offering to pay eligible team members while their locations are closed. Other beneficiaries include the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF, Save the Children and such local relief organizations as the Salvation Army.

Target closed more than 120 stores and four distribution centers in the lead-up to Hurricane Irma, with stores in affected areas reopening on a case-by-case basis. Also ahead of the storm, it shipped almost three million bottles of water, 45,000 packages of batteries and almost 20,000 flashlights to stores.

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