Wal-Mart Foundation Donates $5 Million to Help Red Cross Chapters Prepare for Disasters
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2009 — The Wal-Mart Foundation has awarded $5 million to the American Red Cross to strengthen disaster preparedness in 128 communities in 44 states and three U.S. territories.
The funds will expand the reach of the Red Cross in places that are often isolated during times of disaster. The donation will be used to purchase more than 55,000 blankets and 15,000 cots, provide chapters with nearly 150 shelter trailers and train more than 1,000 Red Cross staff and volunteers.
The goal of the disaster readiness effort funded by this donation is to ensure that smaller, rural communities can respond to the needs of its residents in the first few days of a disaster. The funds from the Wal-Mart Foundation grant are being allocated to Red Cross chapters in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $140,000.
"Thanks to the generosity of the Wal-Mart Foundation, we will increase our capacity to serve people in the rural Alabama counties and to be there to respond after a disaster, whether it is a house fire or a hurricane," says Leisle Mims, Chapter Executive Director at the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter. The Alabama Gulf Coast Regional Counties are receiving a $76,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to strengthen disaster response capabilities in what is a highly disaster prone region.
The grants to Red Cross chapters will help the Red Cross acquire and maintain material and human resources necessary to manage relief operations, and will also be used to improve community relationships necessary to manage relief operations. Being prepared with trained people and adequate supplies on hand prior to a disaster event can help save lives, time and money.
"At Wal-Mart, helping communities is what we do every day, and when a crisis strikes, that charge becomes an even greater priority," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. "Our long-standing support of the American Red Cross is evidence of our commitment to supporting local disaster relief efforts. We are hopeful that the $5 million we have given to local Red Cross chapters across the country will result in the swift, effective response to disasters, and the development of resources before disaster strikes."