Whole Foods Market Shoppers Raise over $1 Million for Hurricane Relief
Company Matches Donation to American Red Cross, Offers Hundreds of Thousands of Hot Meals in New Orleans and Provides Ongoing Team Member Assistance
Austin, Texas — September 9, 2005. Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast last week, Whole Foods Market began feeding thousands of displaced citizens in New Orleans and came to the aid of its Team Members there. Simultaneously, the Company set up a donation program in its more than 160 North American locations to offer shoppers an easy way to contribute to the American Red Cross. Thanks to Whole Foods Market shoppers’ generosity, the Company announced today that more than $1 million has been raised to date and it matched the effort with a $1 million donation, the largest single donation in its 25-year history. “The outpouring of love and support via donations will really make a difference; we are so appreciative of our shoppers,” said John Mackey, president and CEO of Whole Foods Market. “I’m also extremely proud of how our Team Members have responded to this terrible disaster. Their commitment of love, care and compassion is amazing. Our team on the ground in Louisiana has certainly been courageous, compassionate, and heroic - almost mythic in quality- by providing hot, high quality food to thousands so quickly and by working night and day to locate and assist our Team Members.”
Whole Foods Market’s hurricane relief efforts to date include:
* Helping feed people in New Orleans, responding faster than any government or non-profit relief groups in this regard. By partnering with the “Gumbo Krewe,” Whole Foods Market Team Members worked for hundreds of hours to prepare fresh, hot meals -including local favorites like gumbo and jambalaya- for evacuees and thousands of relief and rescue workers and police officers; approximately three hundred thousand meals have been served and they are continuing this effort in New Orleans.
* Collecting more than 20 truckloads of relief goods from various regions and sending them to Louisiana. Also, actively working with its suppliers, Whole Foods Market was able to streamline and deliver donations including water, food, diapers, clothing, personal care products, pet supplies, etc. to local shelters and volunteer groups. This includes Team Members helping sort and organize donations — especially in the Houston and Austin markets.
* Other gestures from various Whole Foods Market stores helping the cause include: Donating an additional $40,000 to the American Red Cross from Company community donation budgets around the country; setting up five percent days this month in several locations, where five percent of a store’s daily sales is donated to the American Red Cross; organizing drives for toiletries and necessities in markets where high concentrations of evacuees have relocated. Information, updates and additional efforts can be found at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Millions of dollars have been allocated to help Whole Foods Market’s Team Members directly affected by the hurricane. Company initiatives include:
* Activating a toll-free number for all Team Members to obtain assistance and information within hours of the hurricane making landfall.
* Setting up an Employee Assistance Program for distressed Team Members, including onsite counseling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
* Sending Team Members supplies, food, clothing, first aid and many other necessities and holding goods drives to collect much-needed items.
* Working around the clock to locate and pay all Team Members as quickly as possible to help with their immediate financial needs.
* Providing payment of one month’s regular wages to all part-time and full-time Team Members.
* Guaranteeing employment at other Whole Foods Market locations.
* Paying a $2,400 assistance bonus for relocation or other immediate expenses for hundreds of displaced Team Members.
* Finding housing for Team Members through the generosity of other Team Members opening up their homes and paying for hotels and plane tickets on an as-needed basis.
* Creating a cash assistance fund with dollars generously donated by Team Members to directly help fellow workers.
The Company operates three stores in Louisiana located in New Orleans, Metairie and Baton Rouge, all of which closed in preparation for the hurricane. The Baton Rouge store reopened on Tuesday, August 30, with only minor product loss due to the power outage. Over 85 percent of Metairie and New Orleans Team Members are accounted for to date, with more making contact with the Company daily. The reopening of these locations is unknown at this time, but the Company’s intention is to rebuild and reopen as quickly as possible as the stores did not fare as badly as initial predictions.
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