Supermarkets Supporting Communities During Hurricanes and Life’s Storms
By Tom O'Reilly / September 2017Insights
As the Gulf Coast is reeling from the havoc of Hurricane Harvey, we are bracing for another Category 5 Hurricane named Irma. At our Tampa, Florida headquarters, we’re no strangers to hurricanes and tropical storms. The hurricane season from June through November each year is a time when we Floridians stock extra water, shelf-stable food, batteries and first aid kits.
But nothing really prepares you for a Category 5 hurricane. The flooding and wind are destructive and devastating to people’s homes, businesses and communities. During times of emergency and natural disasters, we turn to family, friends, first responders and the community.
The tremendous outpouring of support from supermarkets and retailers within the communities they serve has been remarkable!
Progressive Grocer gives details of food retailers offering relief during Hurricane Harvey. For example, San Antonio-based grocer, H-E-B, rolled out its Mobile Kitchen, serving 8,000 meals to residents and first responders in Victoria, Texas. As the kitchen continues delivering meals, H-E-B shipped more than 1,000 truckloads of water within 72 hours to stores and for donations. Other retailers donating to the region are Walmart, Kroger, Target, Amazon/Whole Foods Markets, United Supermarkets, and Aldi.
Sprouts Farmers Market announced its Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation will donate $50,000 to the American Red Cross. According to the Houston Business Journal, the grocery chain and its private-label suppliers also are making direct donations of water and non-perishables to Texas-area hunger relief agencies.
Louisiana-based Rouses Markets, an AWG member supermarket chain, has donated $100,000 in emergency supplies, drinking water and food toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Donny Rouse, CEO of Rouses Markets, delivered a truckload of drinking water and food valued at $60,000 as a personal donation from the Rouse family. “Our number one job is feeding the community,” says Rouse.
During a radio interview, Scott McClelland, H-E-B’s Houston division president said, “It’s like a badge of honor” for team members to volunteer to help their communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Now, as we prepare for Hurricane Irma, Publix Super Market’s director of media and community relations, Maria Brouss, says they are on a 24-hour production and shipment cycle. In a Miami New Times interview, Brouss noted that if local store shelves look bare, help is on the way. She adds, “We have generators in the majority of South Florida stores, and we have mobile generators.”
There’s no doubt that Florida retailers and grocers will step up when we need them most. In fact, local retailers have always been here for us. For decades.
Not only during major disasters, but also for localized needs. We can count on our neighborhood stores to sponsor little league teams, host blood drives, and collect donations for school supplies, clothing, toys and more. Retailers regularly contribute to schools and priorities within the region, as well as raise awareness for causes. Supermarkets and shops are an integral part of communities.
In a world obsessed with online transactions and technology, reaching out to a helping hand is critical as we face life’s storms. Although we appreciate the global reach of online retailers and internet-based businesses, in times like this, we’re truly grateful for the human touch from our neighborhood grocers, retailers and business owners. They know us, they’re with us and they will support us during our greatest need.
Brick and mortar retailers continue to thrive as they help us survive. These local, loyal retailers are saving the communities they serve. Thanks in advance to our friends, neighbors, grocers and retailers in our communities as we weather this storm together!
Contributed by Tom O’Reilly, President and CEO, Aptaris
Tom has a deep understanding of the retail business from both the store and vendor perspectives. He brings decades of hands-on experience in advertising and promotions including new media innovations. As an entrepreneur, he has transformed each organization he has worked with. Tom is a forward-thinking leader with a history of driving innovation, growth and profitability. As an avid reader, Tom is always enthusiastically sharing cutting-edge ideas with clients and colleagues.