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Walmart has announced a significant effort to help victims and survivors of Tropical Storm Harvey in affected areas of the Gulf Coast.
The retail giant has pledged to match up to $10 million in customer donations with cash and supplies, primarily supporting American Red Cross shelters, according to a press release published Wednesday. An additional $10 million, through the Walmart Foundation, will go to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established earlier this week through the Greater Houston Community Foundation, as well as Feeding America, Convoy of Hope, Team Rubicon, and the Salvation Army.
The announcement expands on Walmart’s original commitment to donate $1 million toward relief, made before Harvey hit the coast of Texas on Aug. 25.
Walmart, being such a huge, multinational corporation with a stock of a wide variety of items, seems to be in a unique position to have a tangible effect on the region.
Product donations will focus on essentials needed in shelters: water, infant formula, diapers, underwear, and personal hygiene products. Aiming to make people more comfortable in shelters, Walmart will also offer TVs, DVDs, games, stuffed animals, and snacks.
“Our Texas family of customers and associates are experiencing devastating impact from this storm,” said Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon. “We are on the ground to help our friends and neighbors in the Gulf region, and we’ll continue to be in the tough days, weeks, and months ahead.”
It’s notable that Walmart’s response to Harvey doesn’t stop at traditional cash donations, highlighting an important effort to provide solutions on the ground, too. For example, local Walmart stores in the Gulf region provided food, batteries, kayaks, and other items to victims, first responders, the National Guard, police and fire departments, churches, and shelter organizations.
According to the corporation, more than 1,060 truckloads of supplies have shipped to affected areas so far, including 930 truckloads of water. Walmart’s emergency operations center is helping its own employees in Texas with disaster assistance, meals for their families, and conducting “wellness checks.” Mobile pharmacies are also being set up in Dallas and Houston to help evacuees.
“We are rebuilding, and with these funds we will be able to help Houstonians return to normality.”
“In the midst of the worst storm this region has ever seen, it is wonderful to see corporate partners such as Walmart step up and help Houstonians,” Mayor Turner said. “We are rebuilding, and with these funds we will be able to help Houstonians return to normality.”
This isn’t the first time Walmart has helped with disaster relief and recovery. Over the past 12 years, Walmart says the company and its charitable arm have donated more than $60 million in cash and supplies in response to disasters.
Multiple companies have stepped up in the past several days to help in the wake of the unprecedented storm, which has killed at least 38 people, caused catastrophic flooding, and is overall an environmental nightmare.
Earlier this week, Google announced a campaign to match donations up to $1 million to the American Red Cross, and Facebook is also matching up to $1 million raised for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. Home Depot pledged $1 million across several organizations, and Lyft is donating $100,000 to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Meanwhile, local businesses in Houston have heroically pitched in.