Convenience Channel's Hurricane Relief Efforts Grow
NATIONAL REPORT — Six days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, it is predicted to be the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history.
According to Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, by the time Harvey's destruction is completed, the economic impact will be $160 billion — similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
The weather service reports that the worst flooding from Harvey is yet to come, as rivers and bayous continue to rise in Texas, with additional levees at risk for breaches and failures.
In response to the storm, the convenience and fuel industry has stepped in to lend a helping hand to those affected by the Category 4 storm.
"The retail community is consistently on the front lines in providing much needed relief for Americans dealing with disaster," said Lisa LaBruno, Retail Industry Leaders Association's senior vice president of Retail Operations. "Hurricane Harvey is no exception. Whether it's providing water, medical supplies, fuel and shelter, retailers are doing everything they can to help communities rebuild in the wake of devastation. As retail faces these challenges head on, we are committed to providing hope to those that need it most."
Here are some of the latest efforts from c-store retailers and suppliers:
The Quebec, Canada-based retailer announced that its North American network of nearly 9,500 stores will take part in raising funds for the Red Cross. Customers will be able to make contributions in-store, and Couche-Tard has already donated $100,000 to the relief aid organization.
The company has also activated an internal fundraising campaign to help those employees affected by the storm. So far Couche-Tard has raised $150,000.
"Our Texas team is working tirelessly to get stores reopened, fuel to the pumps, clean water for sanitation and foodservice, and shelves restocked. I am so grateful for all of their efforts on supporting the communities, our customers and our fellow employees," said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard.
He added, "Our hearts and prayers go out to all those displaced and suffering by this catastrophic storm. Through the generosity of our staff, and by collaborating with the Red Cross, we want to provide relief to our impacted employees and communities."
ITG Brands LLC & Tabacalera USA
Greensboro, N.C.-based ITG Brands and Fort Lauderdale-based premium cigar division, Tabacalera USA and their affiliates, are donating through their affiliated foundation $50,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey-related assistance in Houston and other affected areas.
"We have been touched by the devastation, loss of life and disruption this natural disaster has wrought on Houstonians and many other Texans," said ITG Brands CEO David Taylor.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all who live and work in all areas affected by this disaster, especially for our own employees and trading partners in Texas and elsewhere, he said.
Head of Tabacalera USA, Javier Estades added, "We know that the American Red Cross is working tirelessly to help those in need, and we are pleased to provide financial support."
The Reynolds American Foundation donated $150,000 to the American Red Cross for assisting Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston and the surrounding area. Reynolds American Foundation has been a member of the Red Cross' Annual Disaster Giving Program since 2016.
"Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this disaster," said John S. (Tripp) Wilson, president of the Reynolds American Foundation. "We know that the American Red Cross is working tirelessly to help those in need, and we are pleased to provide financial support."
Rutter's Farm Stores
Based in York, Pa., Rutter's is making several moves to help Hurricane Harvey victims. The c-store retailer is sending Rutter's-branded bottled beverages to the affected area, and encouraging its customers to make donations through coffee purchases and in-store donations.
Now through Oct. 1, Rutter's will be donating 10 cents from every cup of coffee sold in all their stores, up to $10,000, to the American Red Cross. It will also be collecting coin canister donations for the organization.
Rutter's is additionally partnering with UNFI and Martin's Potato Chips to fill trucks with beverages, chips, personal care products, and other essential items to provide to victims.
"Just like many others, we have been watching the news and seeing the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. Supporting fellow Americans in a time of need and working with the Red Cross to assist the victims is central to our core values," said Rutter's Chief Customer Officer Derek Gaskins.
Royal Dutch Shell plc will make an initial contribution of $1 million to the American Red Cross as part of the Hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund. As recovery and relief efforts evolve, it will consider where else to provide assistance that can have the most immediate impact, the company stated.
"Our roots run extremely deep in Houston and we are committed to doing our part to help the city move on in the aftermath of Harvey," Shell U.S. President Bruce Culpepper said. "Shell employs nearly 20,000 people in the U.S. and nearly half of them are being directly impacted by Harvey.
"Despite the hardships associated with this event, countless employees have reached out to understand how they can contribute to the relief effort. Ours is a resilient family and I'm proud of the effort employees are making to look after their neighbors and fellow citizens," he added.
Wawa and The Wawa Foundation Inc. launched a chainwide, in-store crisis campaign designed to provide disaster relief assistance to communities most affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The campaign is being held in partnership with the American Red Cross and allows customers to help contribute to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief by adding $1, $3, or $5 to their Wawa purchase at checkout.
The Wawa Foundation will match the first $50,000 of all customer donations during the campaign. The campaign will run from Aug. 30 through Sept. 8 in all of Wawa's 760-plus stores throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.
"We want to do everything we can to support our friends and neighbors in this time of need," said Jay Culotta, president of The Wawa Foundation. "We are constantly overwhelmed by the concern and generosity of our customers and associates, who realize that through a small donation, they can help make a huge difference."