Walmart commits $5 million for Hurricane Maria relief
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (CBS 58) – Walmart has committed $5 million in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts. This builds on the commitments previously announced by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation totaling $35 million to support 2017 hurricane assistance in response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
“Our associates and friends in Puerto Rico are in significant need,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “We want to do all we can to help, not only with immediate hurricane assistance, but in the long term, knowing that there are many challenging days of recovery and rebuilding ahead.”
Walmart operates 45 retail facilities in Puerto Rico, which includes two distribution centers and a satellite headquarters, supported by nearly 15,000 associates across the Island. The $5 million commitment will support organizations helping with local relief efforts supporting those in need. Additional efforts by Walmart in Puerto Rico include:
- Taking care of our associates and their families, which is our first priority. We are focused on providing our associates disaster assistance along with their regular paychecks. We’ve been working through a process to do so safely and efficiently this week.
- Continued relief efforts centralized through the Walmart Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which operates 24 hours a day tracking storm impacts and supporting our associates needs and well-being. The EOC also facilitates store recovery, and is supporting community relief efforts on the Island.
- We have company leadership in Puerto Rico and continue to be in regular contact with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and other partners, while we respond to various needs. We have also sent communications specialists, electricians and other skilled support teams to the Island to help stores and club locations recover as quickly as possible.
- We continue to work toward assessing the status of our facilities on the Island as we are safely able to access them. So far, we have been able to re-open around 20 stores and 5 club locations along with nearly a dozen pharmacies on the Island. We’re proud of the work our teams are doing to help serve our Puerto Rico customers.
- We recognize the need for access to food, water, fuel, medication and other critical items for our customers and associates. We are planning to open facilities very thoughtfully, most likely under limited hours, and metered access, to control lines and enhance security for our customers. In addition we are utilizing corporate jets to get emergency insulin to the Island.
- Working to ship critical supplies and product to the Island. Hundreds of loads of water, emergency supplies and other needed resources, like generators, have been delivered over the last several days. We also have critical freight on a vessel that departed Florida earlier this week and have plans to send more supplies before the end of this week.
- We are actively providing stores with freight and will send product to both open stores and those that are able to accept deliveries as soon as safely possible.
Walmart has a long history of providing aid in times of disasters, helping communities prepare and recover by donating emergency supplies, such as food and water, home and personal products. In addition to this year’s hurricane response of more than $30 million, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated more than $60 million since 2005 in cash and in-kind donations in response to disaster events.