A broad spectrum of companies are stepping up to the plate and providing material, financial, and logistical relief to companies and individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Avaya, a provider of communications systems, is working with Entergy, a power supplier to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, to provide public service information and handle customer inquiries on restoring service. In Houston, Avaya has set up a communications hub in the Reliant Center, which is connected to the Astrodome, to provide phone banks for hurricane victims and conferencing capabilities for support staff. The hub will also support relief centers in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
Heavy equipment maker Deere & Co. will make a total of $1 million in in-kind equipment donations and cash contributions.
The Clorox Co. will donate bleach to the American Red Cross to help volunteers and medical teams cope with the dangerous, unsanitary conditions left by floodwaters.
Supermarket chain Food Lion has sent a number of truckloads of water, food, diapers, hygiene items, and other supplies to relief centers, donated by the company, its employees, and several of its vendors. Food Lion will also donate $250,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, in conjunction with sister supermarket companies Hannaford Bros., Kash n’ Karry/Sweetbay, and Harveys.
Albertson’s, another supermarket chain, will provide $9 million in water, food, and general merchandise from its hunger relief fund and establish a $1 million fund to match donations from customers and employees.
The Coca-Cola Co. and two affiliates are donating $5 million to support relief and rescue efforts, divided among the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a relief fund that for displaced Coca-Cola employees. The company and its bottlers are also donating water and other products.
Wal-Mart has donated about $3 million worth of products including clothing, diapers, baby wipes, food, formula, toothbrushes, bedding, and water. The world’s largest retailer also announced that it has committed $15 million in cash assistance for the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, established by the former presidents. Separately, the Walton Family Foundation is providing $8 million to the Bush-Clinton fund and an additional $7 million to organizations such as the Salvation Army, America’s Second Harvest, and The Foundation for the Mid-South.
Many other companies are donating money and are matching the contributions made by employees, customers, or both.
For its part, the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon publish a notice extending the filing deadlines for companies affected by the disaster, according to chairman Christopher Cox. “We are also working to ensure that individuals and families who suddenly find themselves in desperate financial circumstances have access to representatives of securities firms that hold their assets,” said Cox, in a statement.
In addition to extending deadlines, the SEC will also suspend requirements to deliver documents to hurricane-affected areas. “No one in the region should have to worry about attempting to file government documents in near-impossible circumstances,” Cox added.