Food Retailers Raise Millions for Haiti Relief Effort

Publix Super Markets here last week said that in the first seven days of its campaign to raise funds for the victims of the massive earthquake in Haiti, customers and employees had donated more than $2.9 million to the relief effort. The chain was among the first to respond with a fund-raising effort, setting up donation receptacles at the checkouts of its 1,000-plus stores. Funds were

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets here last week said that in the first seven days of its campaign to raise funds for the victims of the massive earthquake in Haiti, customers and employees had donated more than $2.9 million to the relief effort.

The chain was among the first to respond with a fund-raising effort, setting up donation receptacles at the checkouts of its 1,000-plus stores. Funds were channeled through the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.

“This devastating disaster to Haiti hits close to home as we have many associates and their families from the island,” said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations.

In a separate donation, Publix Super Markets Charities gave $100,000 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts for the areas affected by the earthquake.

Thousands of other supermarket locations across the U.S. and Canada also launched collections at their checkouts during the last two weeks following the disaster. Save Mart Supermarkets, Modesto, Calif., for example, last week said it had collected $130,000 from customers within the first few days of the quake.

Among the more comprehensive efforts, C&S Wholesale Grocers was planning last week to send a team of eight disaster-response professionals to Port-au-Prince on the company's corporate jet in conjunction with a group called CARE (Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies). On the return flight, a group of volunteers from C&S' headquarters city of Keene, N.H., who had been on the island of Ile a Vache assisting at a clinic before the earthquake occurred, will be brought home.

C&S was also preparing to donate medical supplies, including analgesics, bandages, gauze, medical tape and hydrocortisone cream, for response and trauma teams in Haiti. In addition, the wholesaler said nearly 115 tons of food and water were ready for donation, in concert with the United Nations' efforts. Items that were to be airlifted or sent by sea to Haiti include bottled water, canned fruit and vegetables, Spam, juice and cereal.

The company also pledged to match dollar-for-dollar contributions made by employees through payroll deduction. C&S also made two financial contributions to Partners in Health and Oxfam America. For the next few weeks, C&S' retail banners, Grand Union Family Markets and Southern Family Markets, were planning checkout fund-raisers.

Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., said last week that it had raised more than $1.6 million from customers and employees worldwide through in-store and online donations. In addition, Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation had contributed close to another $1 million in cash and in-kind donations.

The company — which has in recent years developed a reputation as a quick responder in times of disaster — donated $500,000 in cash to Red Cross emergency relief efforts in Haiti, and also sent prepackaged food kits valued at $100,000 at the request of the Red Cross.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. was also among the largest contributors, with a $500,000 donation and a partnership with local non-profits to prepare more than 1 million meals to send to earthquake survivors.

Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Mich., brought back Salvation Army Red Kettle bell-ringers to its stores to help raise funds for the effort.

“Although Christmas is 11 months away, the red kettles will once again be a welcome sight at area D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare and Felpausch supermarkets,” said Jeanne Norcross, vice president corporate affairs, Spartan Stores. “We want to do our part to help our neighbors in need — whether they are a half block or a half continent away.”

The Salvation Army has had a presence in Haiti since 1950 and currently operates schools, clinics, a hospital and other services in the country.

Other Spartan Stores relief efforts include employee contributions from throughout its retail stores, including Glen's Markets and VG's, as well as corporate offices and facilities.

Among other efforts:

  • The Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie Foundation and the Western Union Foundation partnered to donate $200,000 to the Red Cross, and Winn-Dixie Stores set up donation points at checkout.

  • H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, said it made a $100,000 contribution to the Red Cross and collected donations at its registers.