More than a week into the aftermath from Hurricane Harvey, Wal-Mart Stores continues to reopen its shuttered stores and disperse emergency relief suppliers throughout the Gulf Coast region.
The retail giant said Tuesday (Sept. 5) all but four of its closed retail locations have reopened. One of those, the supercenter in Rockport, is in the recovery phase of reopening, while supercenters in Aransas Pass and Wharton remain closed along with a stand-alone pharmacy in the Houston suburb of Spring.
“You’ve heard me say before that it’s the humanity of our people that sets us apart. This is who we are and this is what we do. Your commitment to the business, our customers and communities is undeniable and I could not be more proud. It’s this commitment I’m counting on in the coming weeks as we work to get affected stores and clubs back up and running and help restore our communities. We are simply better together,” Wal-Mart Stores CEO Doug McMillon noted in a blog post last Wednesday.
Susana Disla, a store manager in Houston, said it has taken a lot of energy to reopen the store. She said store management is working with the home office team to ensure it has the supplies customers need the most. She said the store is also serving hot food for its staff and customers. Two of the store employees were displaced from the flooding and numerous others have lost their cars. Disla said Wal-Mart is making sure its people get the help they need and that is being provided through cash and product donations, and access to one of the retailer’s command centers in the city where they can get showers and eat hot meals.
She also said the store donated air mattresses to law enforcement officers stuck in their offices as well as a truckload of water which was made available free to any customer who showed up.
Martin Hernandez, an assistant manager at a Houston Wal-Mart, said when he came into the store last Saturday (Aug. 26) it was closed, but several employees had been stuck there overnight. He used his own large truck to take each one of the employee’s home Saturday morning amid the rising flood waters in the city. Hernandez said they each made it home safely and he was glad to help.
Wal-Mart and its foundation have committed $20 million to the relief efforts and continues to support shelters in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Shreveport and Alexandria, La, The retailer said it has shipped 1,219 truckloads to the impacted areas. Wal-Mart said it continues to accelerate deliveries of water and emergency supplies to the stores in the region with a focus on bread, milk and dairy, cleaning supplies, pet food, diapers baby formula, hand sanitizer, clothing essentials like socks and underwear, pillow and towels.
The retailer said its matching campaign to raise money for the Hurricane Harvey victims runs through Wednesday, Sept. 6. Wal-Mart will match 2-for-1 donations to the American Red Cross at registers in Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs. Consumers can also made donations online. Those wanting to text WALMART to 90999 can also make a $10 donation using their cell phones.