Food retailers in the Carolinas – many with locations remaining closed or compromised as a result of Florence – are now helping to raise funds for disaster relief.
The hurricane, since downgraded to a tropical depression, has dumped record rains across parts of North and South Carolina since late last week, causing catastrophic flooding and widespread power outages. Reports Monday said the coastal city of Wilmington, N.C., was cut off from the remainder of the state by rising floodwaters, but flooding conditions persist in multiple locations.
In areas where stores are open, supplies have been short, with reports of low levels of fresh food and gasoline in stores that have opened.
Publix on Carolina Beach/Bragg will open at 10 AM they have water - ice delivery is on the way. They will close at 8 o’clock tonight. Line is already forming to get in @WECTtraffic@wectnews#CapeFearStrongpic.twitter.com/EdVVtc2GaF
Publix on Carolina Beach/Bragg will open at 10 AM they have water - ice delivery is on the way. They will close at 8 o’clock tonight. Line is already forming to get in @WECTtraffic@wectnews#CapeFearStrongpic.twitter.com/EdVVtc2GaF— Bob Bonner (@BobBonnerWECT) September 17, 2018
Retailers in the meantime have launched efforts to aid relief organizations.
Walmart said this weekend that it would double customer donations up to $5 million for a hurricane relief fund that it said would benefit local relief efforts, including supporting shelter, food, comfort and emergency assistance for those in need. Walmart’s matching commitment is in addition to $500,000 of in-kind donations the company has already committed for immediate relief.
Food Lion, which has dozens of stores in the flood-ravaged Wilmington, N.C., area, said it has activated a Hurricane Florence Relief Fund in partnership with the American Red Cross. Funds raised through Sept. 30 will support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts. Food Lion said it has donated two truckloads of water and two trucks of shelf-ready foods to the Red Cross to support their efforts. In addition, it will be making donations to help support local feeding agencies affected by the flooding.
“Our associates and customers in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence know they can count on Food Lion to be there before, during and after the storm, and we’ve heard from many of our customers across our operating area that they want to join with us to support our neighbors and communities in areas impacted by the storm,” Meg Ham, president of the Salisbury, N.C.-based food retailer, said in a release. “We know our customers share our commitment to the communities we serve and together, we will continue to support the American Red Cross’ disaster recovery efforts.”
Kroger’s Harris Teeter banner said it was encouraging shoppers to “round up” purchases to the nearest dollar with the proceeds supporting Red Cross relief efforts.
“We are deeply rooted in supporting our communities before, during and after the storm,” Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter, said. “Shoppers refer to us as ‘My Harris Teeter’ for a reason, and we know they share our commitment to supporting their neighbors impacted by Hurricane Florence.”
In addition, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based retailer Lowes Foods said it was launching Red Cross donation efforts. Lowes as of Monday had six stores closed and several others working on limited schedules, due to storm disruption.
Publix Super Markets said customers may donate any amount by adding it to their grocery totals when checking out at Publix registers, with 100% the funds collected will go to the American Red Cross in support of Hurricane Florence relief efforts. Donations will enable the American Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
“Hurricane Florence is impacting our Publix communities almost exactly a year after Irma,” said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations. “We know the devastation a hurricane can cause and believe it is our privilege and responsibility to do what we can to help those affected by the storm.”
Additionally, Publix Super Markets Charities is making an initial donation of $250,000 to the American Red Cross and United Way to help fund relief efforts for the affected areas.