Retailers make a difference when disasters strike

MINNEAPOLIS — Mother Nature unleashed her fury again this month when dozens of tornadoes swept across the Midwest and South, killing 41 people and prompting Target to take action.

The company wrote a check for $37,500 to provide support to the American Red Cross to be used in their efforts in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. While the financial donation is helpful, the greater impact when disaster strikes is the time and energy retail employees invest to help their communities recover. Whether it is Target or some other equally generous retailer – Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s come to mind – cash donations are really just the beginning.

Major national retailers are integral parts of the communities in which they operate, or at least they should be, which means their employees, friends, families and co-workers are typically affected when natural disasters strike. So when the tornadoes dissipated, Target the company didn’t just write a check, its employees got busy volunteering to make a difference. According to the company, one example involved 60 Target employees who volunteered with the Red Cross and United Way in Henryville, Ind. by unloading, sorting and delivering community donations to surrounding shelters. There were undoubtedly countless other acts of selflessness as employees stepped up to help others in need, but most will never be publicly acknowledged because they are too numerous and the motivation for doing so isn’t to include a mention in a press release, but rather make a difference in the communities where they live and also happen to be employed by Target.

“When disaster strikes, Target listens and acts quickly to donate time, money and essentials to help support the needs of our communities,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. “Our thoughts are with those affected and we hope our donation will aid the recovery efforts.”

Teams from across Target spend countless hours preparing for disasters of any magnitude and will continue to help communities across the country before, during and after a crisis, the company said.