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10/03/2022

Retailers begin offering support to communities impacted by hurricanes

Several retailers, including Walgreens, Southeastern Grocers, Publix, Hy-Vee and Walmart, are providing support to communities impacted by Hurricane Ian and Fiona.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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It didn't take long for retailers, including Walgreens, Southeastern Grocers, Publix, Hy-Vee and Walmart, to offer their support to the communities impacted by Hurricane Ian and Fiona.

Walgreens is supporting storm relief efforts in communities across Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Fiona with $1 million in donations, which include $500,000 each to the Florida Disaster Fund and the American Red Cross Hurricane Fund.

The American Red Cross donation goes to help all impacted communities in the aftermath of the hurricanes and will include aid to impacted regions across Puerto Rico following Hurricane Fiona, which made landfall two weeks ago.

[Read more: Retailers are expanding COVID-19 vaccines, antiviral and test availability]

Walgreens also is continuing to work with both organizations as well as community partners to donate products and essentials, such as bottled water, consumables, and health and hygiene items.

“Our thoughts are with all of those who have been impacted by the devastation caused by these hurricanes, and we’re committed to doing all we can to support the communities we serve as relief efforts continue,” said Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to our countless team members who have been working tirelessly to ensure our patients and customers have access to the medications, products and healthcare services they need during this difficult time.”

The company also is making disaster support services available to Walgreens team members who may be displaced or in need of additional support.

[Read more: Publix accepts donations to support Puerto Rico disaster relief efforts]

In the coming days, Walgreens customers will be able to make donations at checkout at any Walgreens store nationwide. All proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross Hurricane Fund.

As the largest drug store chain in Florida, the vast majority of Walgreens’ 820-plus stores statewide are open. To help support locations that remain temporarily closed due to power outages or other damage, the retailer has been working to deploy mobile pharmacy trailers to help serve customers and patients while teams work to reopen impacted locations as quickly and safely as possible. Nearly all Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico are open. 

Publix said that its associates distributed nearly 8,000 gallons of water and 75,000 lbs. of ice to individuals affected by Hurricane Ian in southwest Florida at Next Level Church, located at 12400 Plantation Rd., in Fort Myers.

[Read more: Retailers begin offering COVID-29 booster shots]

Additionally, Publix activated an ongoing donation campaign, allowing customers and associates to help people affected by the hurricane. One hundred percent of proceeds donated at checkout will go to the American Red Cross.

“Our hearts are with our neighbors, friends and relatives in southwest Florida,” said Publix director of community relations Dwaine Stevens. “Taking care of our communities is part of our culture. In our most challenging times, the Publix family is always ready to do good, together.”

Southeastern Grocers, parent company and home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, together with the SEG Gives Foundation, also is doing its part. The company announced the extension of its community donation program to benefit the American Red Cross and plans for additional relief activations in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian.

[Read more: Southeastern Grocers’ Community Bag and Giving Tag program to aid local organizations]

The grocer is actively assessing storm damage throughout all Florida Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie store locations to determine when affected locations can safely and quickly reopen to support customers and communities in their time of greatest need.

“Utilizing our decades of disaster relief experience, we continue to put people at the center of our decisions to shape every step of our recovery efforts — however long they may take.” — Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers

“Hurricane Ian has left a wide path of destruction throughout Florida, and our heartfelt thoughts are with all of our associates, customers and communities recovering from the shocking devastation. I want to express my profound appreciation for our associates for their support before, during and after this historic storm,” said Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers.

“Utilizing our decades of disaster relief experience, we continue to put people at the center of our decisions to shape every step of our recovery efforts — however long they may take,” he said. “Hurricane Ian has left a legacy of disaster, but we are a resilient community and our customers can count on us to help them recover. We are stronger together.”

[Read more: Retailers, pharmacies among entities providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine]

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, SEG has extended its current in-store community donation campaign to benefit the American Red Cross. Customers can help equip the nonprofit by donating $1, $5 or simply rounding up their grocery bill while shopping their local Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores.

Every dollar donated through SEG’s community donation program will help support Red Cross Disaster Relief, which provides essential aid to those affected by disasters across the country, including food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance. The grocer also donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross earlier this year in preparation for this hurricane season and more than $815,000 to aid and support disaster relief efforts in 2021.

As part of the grocer’s commitment to taking care of associates, customers and communities before, during and after the storm, emergency truckloads of essential products and vaccines have been allocated to open stores and pharmacies throughout Florida daily. SEG and its charitable arm, the SEG Gives Foundation, are now mobilizing resources to provide needed water and ice donations to Southwest Florida in support of communities in great need.

[Read more: CVS Health supports tornado recovery, relief efforts]

Additionally, the grocer plans to activate mobile pharmacies to offer preventive vaccines and needed medications, along with food pantries to provide shelf-stable products, fresh produce, water, ice and essential cleaning supplies in impacted areas where stores remain closed.

SEG said that its hardworking associates are a vital part of these communities and understand the impact of Hurricane Ian firsthand and the impact of prolonged damage or closures to area Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores. The grocer will continue to support associates through SEG Cares, a charitable program that offers assistance for associates by associates. SEG kicked off its Hurricane Ian fundraiser to benefit SEG Cares with $200,000 donated to aid associates impacted by the hurricane.

Hy-Vee is not standing on the sidelines. The retailer has deployed its Disaster Relief Fleet to locations in Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian. Hy-Vee employees departed this morning from the Hy-Vee Fresh Commissary in Ankeny, Iowa in several of the company’s response vehicles with supplies and food to assist with providing up to 1 million meals.

[Read more: Hy-Vee mobilizes disaster recovery fleet to aid tornado victims]

The fleet that has been dispatched to Florida includes Hy-Vee’s mobile command center; Hy-Vee’s mobile water system, which includes a tank and pump trailer; two Hy-Vee rapid response pickup trucks; and nine Hy-Vee semis filled with water, ice, snacks, cleaning supplies and protein.

Hy-Vee’s disaster relief team is working with local emergency responders, food banks and nonprofits to assist with efforts specifically in Port Charlotte and Bradenton, Fla. The team also will be working with Operation BBQ Relief to help provide up to 1 million meals to those responding to the disaster, as well as impacted residents in Florida.

The caravan includes 23 Hy-Vee employees who will take part in the company’s 12-day response effort.

[Read more: Publix accepts donations at the register to support Kentucky disaster relief efforts]

Walmart shared that it is grateful for the response effort underway, including associates working alongside state leaders and first responders. zdOur Walmart Health centers in Tampa and Orlando are offering complimentary sick or injury exams,” the retailer said. “As our stores in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are now being impacted, we’re standing by to support those communities.”

Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Walmart Foundation are committing up to $6 million to recovery and relief efforts. This support will include donations of essential supplies and grants to organizations providing relief on the ground. ”Our customers, members and associates are the most generous people we know. So as part of this commitment, we will help maximize their impact by matching contributions 1:1 when they donate at our registers (up to $2.5 million) or through our associate giving program,” Walmart said.

Walmart associates also are working side-by-side with state leaders and first responders, mobilizing to bring additional services to impacted communities.

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