The Kroger Co. is pushing ahead with a multi-pronged disaster relief plan in Texas as residents and businesses recover from billions of dollars in damage wrought by Winter Storm Uri.
For communities served by Houston and Dallas division stores, Kroger said yesterday that it has issued $270,000 in Helping Hands emergency grants to more than 500 associates, partnering with the both cities and supplying drinking water to local communities and nonprofit organizations like Harvest Project Food Rescue, Houston Food Bank, Montgomery Food Bank and The Wilkinson Center.
Cincinnati-based Kroger, too, has enlisted customers to aid its relief efforts by providing a donation option at checkout in Dallas-Fort Worth and greater Houston stores for the American Red Cross. The relief organization is supported annually by The Kroger Co. Foundation via $500,000 in funding to support disaster response efforts. Customers can donate to the in-store fundraiser until the end of March.
In addition, The Kroger Co. Foundation has committed $190,000 to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s Disaster Relief Fund and $180,000 to the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund, established by Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. The retailer noted that it also continues to partner with other Texas cities to provide critical recovery resources.
Kroger’s Houston Division, based in Coppell, Texas, operates more than 100 stores in southeastern Texas and Louisiana and employs over 18,000 associates. The Shenandoah, Texas-based Dallas Division encompasses 109 stores and more than 15,000 associates.
“Texas is resilient and has weathered many storms, coming out stronger each time,” Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement. “Kroger has been there to support Texans every time, always focusing on ensuring our associates and communities have the resources they need to rebuild. I’m especially grateful to our Dallas and Houston store, distribution center, manufacturing, pharmacy and office teams who have worked tirelessly over the past couple of weeks to uplift our associates, customers and communities.”
Winter Storm Uri brought snow, ice and historically cold temperatures to Texas during the Valentine’s and President’s Day weekend, with the thermometer plunging into the single digits and wind chills falling below zero. The frigid weather crashed the state’s power grid and forced rolling blackouts, leaving millions of Texans without electrical power for days. The cataclysmic temperature change also froze water pipes, cutting off much of the water supply and creating safety issues triggered boil-water orders around the state.
The storm paralyzed businesses and daily life in Texas, forcing people to search for places to keep warm and locate scant supplies of food, bottled water and fuel. Residents across Texas continue to grapple with shortages of food and other supplies, particularly potable water.
Kroger said that, like many residents and retailers, it experienced power outages, rolling blackouts and compromised pipes at its distribution centers and stores in the region. As power was restored across Texas, the company resumed providing fresh food to communities with the support of associates.
“Recently, as our city was faced with the lowest temperatures seen in years, widespread power outages and homes with no access to water, I witnessed our communities coming together to immediately support each other,” stated Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We would like to thank Kroger for their donation of more than 3,000 cases of bottled water to support those in need and for their donation of $180,000 to the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund.”
COVID-19 vaccination sites also have restarted, Kroger reported. As of March 1, the company’s Kroger Health arm had administered more than 600,000 coronavirus vaccines in 26 states, including Texas, to essential health care workers, skilled-nursing facilities, seniors, educators and eligible associates. Kroger Health is now receiving and administering vaccines at 1,500 of its 2,200 pharmacies overall. Customers can go online to schedule a vaccine appointment at kroger.com/CovidCare.
“As we continue to recover from this awful crisis, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach from governmental entities, nonprofits and our business community,” commented Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “Kroger has been a wonderful partner for the city of Dallas in the past, and I am grateful for their continued support of our people.”