Home improvement retailers aid flood victims

Several home improvement retailers are coming to the aid of flood-ravaged communities in the Midwest by contributing money and supplies and serving as cash donation sites.

Lowe’s, Home Depot and Wal-Mart are among the big-box retailers helping rebuild communities devastated by storms and flooding that started in early June and have forced thousands from their homes across six states.

Even as reports that the flood waters have begun to subside hit the airwaves on June 23, Lowe’s stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin continued to serve as official cash donation sites for the United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund. This fund was created on June 16 to support long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts to areas devastated by the floods, the company’s Web site said.

Through July 21, Lowe’s will match in-store customer donations up to a total of $100,000 -- donations that will be used to help the Red Cross address immediate needs such as food and shelter and to aid local United Way chapters in longer term recovery efforts.

Mary Kay Leonard, group vp-investor relations at United Way of America said Lowe’s is a long-time partner of the United Way. Lowe’s stores have worked with the organization for more than 20 years on a variety of projects, including disaster relief, product donation and donations to the annual campaign.

Earlier in June, Wal-Mart responded to the crisis by committing $500,000 in cash and merchandise donations to assist with flood relief in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Longtime Wal-Mart partners in the area of disaster response, the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army will each receive a portion of the commitment. Currently, Wal-Mart is working with both organizations to provide food, water and other life-sustaining products to stricken areas.

“Given the magnitude and the devastation caused by these recent floods, it is important that we step up our relief efforts and help those who have been affected,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation.

On June 20, The Chrysler Foundation donated $100,000 in flood relief supplies to the Serve the City Resource Group, which has coordinated volunteers to help unload, organize and distribute cleanup supplies to damaged neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The goods were purchased at Home Depot and Wal-Mart stores in the Cedar Rapids area, and Home Depot offered The Chrysler Foundation a 40 percent discount on the materials, which allowed the organization to purchase additional items. Meanwhile, the Wal-Mart staff packed, loaded and coordinated a staging area for items purchased from its store.

In addition, at the end of 2008, Home Depot will also give 1.5 percent of the total of items purchased by The Chrysler Foundation to the Serve the City Resource Group.

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