Editor's Plate: Food and Beverage Companies Aid in Hurricane Relief Efforts

Sept. 7, 2017
Food, bottled water and helping hands are on the way to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

I write this in an awkward in-between time after Hurricane Harvey and before Hurricane Irma. My fervent hope is the latter doesn't eclipse the former.

It's heartening at times like these – times of domestic unrest, global terror and the threat of war – that people come together to aid those affected by natural disasters. While the citizens of Texas and the Gulf Coast will need many things and huge amounts of aid in the coming months, two of the first three things they ask for are food and water (the third being shelter).

Food and beverage companies always have been at the forefront of charitable giving, many through the national food bank network Feeding America. They have really stepped up after Hurricane Harvey, giving millions of dollars in cash (including matching the donations from employees), food products and water and volunteer time to help the millions impacted by this monstrous storm.

Some press releases and news reports have crossed my virtual desk, and I did a search for others. Following is what I'm sure is a woefully inadequate list of donors who deserve some recognition (and it's in alphabetic order). I know there are other worthy efforts that I didn't discover in time, so I apologize if I neglected what your company is doing. Send me your story and we'll add it here to this list.

  • AB InBev's emergency water program sent more than 155,000 cans of drinking water.
  • Agropur is donating $25,000 and a truckload of BiPro protein water, as well as coordinating to deliver Wisconsin cheese and butter to Texas.
  • Cargill made a $100,000 contribution to relief efforts, as well as running a dedicated employee giving program for employees to give via payroll deduction to either the Red Cross or Feeding America.
  • The Coca-Cola Foundation has pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross. The company is matching employee donations, up to $100,000, to the Coca-Cola Employee Disaster Relief Fund, which will go to company associates affected by the storm. The Coca-Cola system has also donated nearly 25,000 cases of water, milk, sports drinks and other beverages to people in the affected areas. The company said it expects to donate more in the coming days.
  • General Mills sent $500,000 in food donations from Epic Provisions, Yoplait, Nature Valley and other General Mills brands and was matching employee contributions to the American Red Cross.
  • Hormel Foods anticipated hurricane season this year by stocking the warehouse of Convoy of Hope with protein-rich products, such as Skippy peanut butter, Stagg chili, Hormel chicken breast and Spam. The company is also providing support for its employees impacted by the storm through its CARE Program.
  • Kellogg promised $100,000 through Feeding America and other aid groups and sent more than million servings of its cereals, Bear Naked granola and other snacks and treats to the Houston food bank.
  • Land O'Lakes is matching employee contributions.
  • MillerCoors is donating 50,000 cans of water and $25,000.
  • Mission Foods is donating 26 tons of food through the Houston Food Band and the American Red Cross.
  • Nestlé is donating more than a million bottles of water.
  • PepsiCo and its foundation are providing more than $1 million in cash and products to the Red Cross.
  • Ready Pac Foods is donating 24,000 Chicken Caesar Bistro Bowl salads, which come with forks, making them easy to eat on the go and in situations where everyday home goods could be in short supply.
  • Smithfield Foods pledged $100,000 to the American Red Cross in addition to matching employee contributions two-to-one.
  • The Starbucks Foundation will donate $250,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief. The coffee chain will also allow customers to make a donation to the American Red Cross in its stores. Employees who donate money can request a matching donation.
  • Tito's Handmade Vodka is matching American Red Cross donations up to $50,000.
  • Tyson Foods quickly announced a $50,000 donation to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to the Salvation Army to assist in disaster relief efforts in Texas and sent teams to prepare meals for those affected by and responding to the disaster. The company’s Meals that Matter mobile relief truck will be sent from its home in Springdale, Ark., as are three truck loads of product totaling nearly 100,000 pounds, one truck load of bulk ice, another of bagged ice and another of bottled water. (By the way, Tyson noted cooperative efforts with Bimbo Bakeries USA, Harris Baking Co., Hugg & Hall Equipment Co. and Peppersource.)
  • 26 Wisconsin cheese companies, through the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, have donated nearly 20,000 pounds of cheese and 300 pounds of butter to the Houston Food Bank.
  • Land O’Frost has teamed up with several community organizations to collect and deliver non-perishable food items, clothing, toiletries and school supplies to Houston residents  affected by Hurricane Harvey.
  • Miura Boiler recently started a Quick-Ship Express program to deliver and install new Miura boilers in the time it takes for a rental unit. According to the company, Miura will ship and install their steam boilers in just days. Learn more
  • PMMI, The Association of Packaging and Processing Technologies,  raised more than $325,000 for the American Red Cross’ hurricane relief efforts. PMMI matched $100,000 in online and onsite donations from PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2017, while proceeds from PACK gives BACK™, featuring the legendary rock-n-roll band The Doobie Brothers, drove the final number.
  • Toyota Forklifts announced a $50,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey relief in Gulf Coast communities. The donations will be a team effort from Toyota with Toyota Industries Corporation, Toyota Material Handling U.S.A., Toyota Industrial Equipment and Toyota Commercial Finance joining together to support the effort. The funds will support affected dealership employees and the community as a whole, including the American Red Cross.

For almost all of these companies, this work is in addition to annual contributions to local and national charitable programs. Kudos to you all!

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