Retail Foodservice

Grocers reach out with aid in wake of devastating Hurricane Ian

Even as some retailers remain closed, companies are donating food, money and supplies to relief efforts.
Hy-Vee relief response
Iowa-based Hy-Vee is assisting with Hurricane Ian relief efforts in Florida. / Photo courtesy: Hy-Vee

More than 100 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores remained closed Friday, largely in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s devastation, according to the retailer’s website.

Walmart on Thursday, the day after the hurricane made landfall in Florida, pledged to donate $6 million to recovery and relief efforts following the massive storm. The retail giant also said it would match donations given at its registers and by its employees, up to $2.5 million.

“Many of our associates, customers and members in the communities we serve across Florida are feeling the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian,” Walmart said on its website. “Our thoughts are with those impacted and we are moving quickly to help.”

Walmart said its employees are working with state leaders and first responders to help communities hit by the deadly storm.

Other grocers announced their involvement in Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

Publix Super Markets on Thursday said its charitable arm would donate $1 million to non-profit organizations, including the American Red Cross and United Way, as part of the cleanup and rebuilding work.

Publix on Friday also said it would activate a company-wide donation campaign to allow customers and workers to donate to the relief efforts at checkout lanes.

“I’m proud of our more than 230,000 associates who are working hard to take care of our customers, our communities and each other every day and especially in times of need,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based grocer Hy-Vee said it would send two caravans of its disaster relief fleet to Florida Friday, leaving from Ankeny, Iowa.

Groups of Hy-Vee employees in several response vehicles will bring Hy-Vee’s mobile command center, water system and rapid response pickup truck to the area, the company said. Those groups will be followed by a second group, departing Saturday, that includes nine semi-trucks filled with water, ice, snacks, cleaning supplies and protein donated by Hormel Foods, the retailer said.

Twenty-three Hy-Vee employees volunteered to take part in the 12-day response effort, the company said.  

“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, Florida,” the food retailer said in a statement. “The team will also 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.”

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