Tyson Foods, Walmart provide aid for flooding victims in Midwest

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 662 views 

Severe flooding in Iowa and Nebraska has prompted Northwest Arkansas companies Tyson Foods and Walmart Inc. to send aid. Both employers have extensive operations in the flooded Midwest.

Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Walmart Foundation have committed $100,000 in support through cash and product donations. That commitment includes $50,000 in product donations to organizations providing support to impacted areas, and cash commitments of $50,000 to the Red Cross and United Way, which are providing relief services to affected communities. Walmart is also working with local officials and government entities to help meet the needs of those affected.

Walmart said the impact of the historic floods is affecting its employees, customers and the communities its serves. In addition to cash donations, Walmart said its local stores and distribution centers have been providing product to meet basic needs.

“We will also continue to work with nonprofits, first responders, local officials and government organizations to identify needs and provide additional support,” said Kyle Luckie, regional general manager for Walmart Nebraska, Iowa and northeast Kansas.

Walmart and Sam’s Club operate 68 retail stores, a distribution center and employ more than 17,000 employees in Iowa. In Nebraska, the company has 47 retail stores, a distribution center and more than 12,000 employees.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods said it has deployed its Meals that Matter disaster relief team to the region and is donating four truckloads, or 126,000 pounds, of protein to hunger relief organizations in Nebraska and Iowa. Tyson said its disaster team members have volunteered to unload and distribute product to the receiving agencies at Tyson plant locations in Madison, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa, beginning March 22 at 9 a.m.

The meat giant said food will not be provided onsite, only bulk donations to hunger relief agencies and non-profit organizations. Also on Thursday, Tyson Foods announced $1.8 million in hunger relief support to 14 states. Nebraska and Iowa were among those getting additional funding relief. Those gifts include:
• Food Bank of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa – $150,000 – refrigerated truck, van and forklift equipment;
• River Bend Foodbank, Davenport, Iowa – $135,380 – warehouse racking system; and
• Food Bank for the Heartland, Omaha, Nebraska – $116,357 – delivery truck.

This week the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimated farm and ranch losses in the state could reach $1 billion from the flooding. The organization also estimates $400 million in crop losses because the flooding delayed planting, and some areas will not be able to be planted this year. Livestock losses are continuing to rise to an estimated $500 million for the state as flood waters begin to recede.

The Iowa Farm Bureau has not yet given disaster estimates but Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for 21 counties impacted by flooding.

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