Food Retailers Aid Tornado Relief Efforts

The food retail industry is coming together to assist those affected by the tornadoes and the severe weather system that ripped through Kentucky and Tennessee on Dec. 11.

With at least 88 confirmed deaths as of Dec. 14, and many more without shelter, food or power, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said that the swarm of tornadoes that tore a 200-mile path through the Midwest and South was the most destructive in the his state’s history.

To help with the relief efforts, Midwestern grocer Hy-Vee deployed a team of 37 employees on Dec. 13 in a caravan of 19 vehicles carrying 327,000 bottles of water and more than 220,000 snack bars and breakfast items to Mayfield, KyThe disaster relief team will assist in recovery efforts. 

“As soon as we learned of the incredible tornado devastation in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, we knew we had to send relief,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman and CEO. “In times of great need like these, it’s important that we help in the way we know best – by providing essentials like food and water as well as a helping hand.”

The caravan consists of 10 Hy-Vee semitrailers, Hy-Vee’s disaster command center, six disaster recovery pickup trucks and two SUVs. The team will visit other affected areas in Kentucky and Tennessee, and expects to be on the ground providing aid for several days this week.

Meanwhile, instant-delivery platform Gopuff said that it will contribute $100,000, on behalf of Gopuff and Liquor Barn, to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which was established by Gov. Beshear to assist those affected by the severe weather system.

“Gopuff has deep ties to the state of Kentucky, with more than 23 locations, including all the Liquor Barn stores. Our hearts go out to all those affected during this devastating time. We will continue to do what we can to help rebuild, beyond this initial relief effort,” said Rafael Ilishayev, co-founder and co-CEO of Philadelphia-based Gopuff.

Additionally, Gopuff is preparing to donate essential needs to state and local relief centers as response efforts continue.

In related news, customers of Midwestern food retailer Schnucks can round up their purchase to the nearest dollar at checkout, with 100% of the donations going to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief Fund.

“Our partners at the American Red Cross are working around the clock across several states to help those in need and make sure everyone has a safe place to stay, food to eat, critical relief supplies, emotional support and comfort in the face of one of the most devastating tornado outbreaks in years,” said Schron Jackson, Schnucks’ director of community engagement and customer care. “Our customers also have the opportunity to help simply by telling their Schnucks checker that they want to ‘Round Up’ as they have so generously done in the past.”

Schnucks’ roundup campaign will continue through Dec. 19.

Employee-owned Hy-Vee has a team of 86,000 employees and operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. St. Louis-based Schnucks, which operates 111 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and employs 13,000 associates, is No. 64 on The PG 100.