Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB’s Response to Hurricane Disaster Continues
– An Ongoing Commitment to Rebuilding Communities –
On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast region. In the following days, weeks and months, Wal-Mart was there to give a helping hand. Since the disaster, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB led the corporate drive to assist in hurricane relief efforts with $18 million in cash donations to aid emergency efforts, including $15 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, $1 million to The Salvation Army, $1 million to the American Red Cross and another $1 million to the Texas Governor’s Disaster Relief Fund. The company has also provided $3 million of merchandise and in-kind donations to shelters and command centers throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Wal-Mart has demonstrated a continued commitment to our associates and the communities we serve by providing ongoing assistance to those affected by the hurricanes.
Wal-Mart Continues to Lead the Way Months after the Gulf Coast Disaster:
Beyond the impact of our donations, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB have touched several communities with our ongoing relief efforts – serving as a reminder that Wal-Mart is there for our customers, associates and local communities – especially in a time of crisis.
Some of Wal-Mart’s ongoing efforts include:
- Raising more than $8.5 million in public contributions made directly by customers at our 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB locations. In January 2006, the outstanding $2.5 million was donated to 11 local organizations in Louisiana to help rebuild the region and provide displaced residents with shelter, food and clothing, medical attention, telephone and computer access and grief counseling.
- Opening a temporary 16,000 square foot, air conditioned “tent” store stocked with survival supplies in Waveland, Miss., one of the hardest hit towns in the region. This tent store was converted into the “Wal-Mart Express,” a new store concept for disaster impacted areas.
- Donating the use of more than 25 vacant facilities in impacted states to be used as evacuee shelters, supply depots and food pantries. One facility was even used as a tent city for utility crews and another for a dialysis clinic. Wal-Mart paid the utility costs on these facilities while in use.
- Providing more than $13 million in cash assistance to more than 19,000 associates.
- Facilitating the relocation of approximately 2,400 displaced associates to convenient U.S. Wal-Mart stores and SAM’S CLUB locations.
Wal-Mart is continuing to find new opportunities to assist those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as provide opportunities for associates and customers to help. Some recent examples include:
- Partnering with CBS News’ The Early Show and United Way of America to sponsor “Wishes for Kids,” a holiday toy drive, which allowed customers to purchase items for the youngest children impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. More than 90,060 toys/books were purchased to benefit young people.
- Partnering with Clear Channel Radio and The Salvation Army to support “Gulf Coast: Bicycles or Bust,” a drive with the goal of raising money to purchase 100,000 bicycles for Gulf Coast children in communities impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- A $500,000 donation to the Bring Back New Orleans Fund and more than $2 million to other Louisiana-based organizations assisting in the relief and rebuilding efforts.
Americans are Praising Wal-Mart’s Efforts:
- Jim Freeman, with his wife Nina, while shopping at Wal-Mart’s Express Waveland Store, “Retailers like Wal-Mart adjust to Katrina,” Associated Press, 20 Nov., 2005
"It’s a real uplifting thing. You take a lot of things for granted until it’s all gone.
- Sharon Adams, speaking about Wal-Mart’s Waveland store reopening, “Retailers like Wal-Mart adjust to Katrina,” Associated Press, 20 Nov., 2005
"It’s definitely a sign of recovery when Wal-Mart comes back."
- Melisa Jones, a Waveland Wal-Mart associate, who was one of the hundreds who returned to work, “Retailers like Wal-Mart adjust to Katrina,” Associated Press, 20 Nov., 2005
"It gives me hope and it gives me stability. It makes me want to move on instead of give up."
- Stephen “Marc” Hibbs, Wal-Mart, Dallas assistant manger, letter to Wal-Mart Daily News, 29 Dec., 2005
“After Hurricane Katrina, my father called me to let me know how proud he was that I worked for Wal-Mart. That’s exactly how I feel every day.”
- Ron Ouellet, New Bedford, Mass., letter to Wal-Mart Daily News, 6 Jan., 2005
“When Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast, I was not surprised at all that Wal-Mart not only stepped forward, but led the way in donations and helping those affected by that storm.”
- Carol Fernandez, Wal-Mart associate, “Wal-Mart, the Greatest Company in America,” NOLA’s Voices of Katrina blog, 12 Jan., 2005
“I work for Wal-Mart, the greatest company in America…Wal-Mart immediately provided money for us to at least begin to buy clothes, food, or rent motels or whatever we needed and allowed us to work in any store until our store re-opens.”
Leaders Praise Wal-Mart:
- Mayor Max Sebesta, Angelton, Texas, The Situation with Tucker Carlson, 22 Sept., 2005
“Wal-Mart has been very good with us. We’ve got one of their key people here in town, has got a key to the store, and anything we need, just make a list, and we get what we need. They are working with us very well.”
- Mayor Philip Capitano, Kenner, Louisiana, “The Only Lifeline was Wal-Mart,” Fortune, 3 Oct., 2005
"The only lifeline in Kenner was the Wal-Mart stores. We didn’t have looting on a mass scale because Wal-Mart showed up with food and water so our people could survive.”
- Jim Hood, attorney general of Mississippi, thanks Wal-Mart in a heartfelt letter, 2 Nov., 2005
“I sincerely thank you for lending a helping hand to our law enforcement officers and firefighters on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
- Brian A. Gallagher, president and CEO, United Way of America, 1 Dec., 2005
“We’re very pleased to be partnering with Walmart.com and CBS News’ The Early Show to improve the lives of children affected this hurricane season.”
- Biloxi City Mayor A.J. Holloway “Team Wal-Mart launches historic bike drive,” City of Biloxi Web site, 3 Dec., 2005
“This is an outstanding and much-appreciated project [Bikes or Bust]. Wal-Mart is using its considerable resources to assemble a team of businesses and the media to make Christmas brighter for thousands of families and to call attention to the continuing recovery efforts here in Biloxi and along the entire Gulf Coast.”
- Mayor Ray Nagin, New Orleans, Louisiana, “Wal-Mart donates $500,000 for N.O.,” New Orleans Times Picayune, 13 Jan., 2006
"We have gifts from mecca – from Arkansas – from the Wal-Mart Corporation…Wal-Mart Foundation has come through and actually done something."
The Media on Wal-Mart’s Efforts:
- Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, thanks Wal-Mart for donating Halloween costumes to children impacted by the hurricanes, 26 Oct., 2005
“Thanks to our friends at Wal-Mart, a lot of kids are going to have one very happy Halloween… As part of our "GMA Gets It D1" program, Wal-Mart generously donated 1,000 costumes for the thousand young children of Pass [Christian].”
- David Price, CBS News: The Early Show, thanks Wal-Mart for their partnership and donation to the Wishes for Kids toy drive to benefit the youngest hurricane victims, 21 Dec., 2005
“It has been a huge success. So far, of course, a large part of the--of the success of this thing really has to go to our partners, Wal-Mart.com and United Way. How about this, the Wal-Mart Foundation is donating $50,000 this morning to help ship all of these toys to girls and boys all around the country and get them to those kids in time for the holidays.”
Information for journalists
You may click onto the following sites to assist you in locating/contacting people. These sites are not affiliated with Wal-Mart and you will be directed to a different independently operated site. If you click onto such site, you will be governed by the terms and conditions of such site.
- Call 1-800-THE-LOST for assistance in finding loved ones from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- Hurricane victim locators
Hurricane Relief Video Channel
View video from Wal-Mart’s Hurricane Relief channel.