Grocers step up to help Albertans ravaged by floods

From giving campaigns, to information centres, grocers are stepping in to help those ravaged by the floods

Grocery chains reacted swiftly with food, supplies and donations as floods continue to devastate Calgary.

Those local stores not damaged or closed have stepped up their instore giving campaigns, turned stores into information hubs to help staff and customers and the 100,000 people initially rendered homeless from the floods.

D.D. Coutts, manager of communications at Calgary Food Bank, said grocery stores quickly stepped up with food and mobilized their stores as collection points for people wanting to donate provisions or cash.

“We were getting calls within an hour after the floods hit High River and Canmore. Safeway, Sobeys, Calgary Co-op were all over it,” she said. “Loblaws and Safeway were delivering right to the emergency points.”

Coutts said some stores in High River, Canmore, Turner Valley, Bragg Creek and Black Diamond remain closed and there are still 10,000 people displaced in Calgary and another 13,000 in High River.

The Food Bank needs soups, canned meats, bottled water and juices, and proteins, she said. “We are running at full tilt,” she said. “It looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

Karen Allen, communications manager at Calgary Co-op, said their High River store is the only one closed, but was also the first store to offer assistance to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, emergency workers and volunteers when flooding hit last Thursday.

“A lot of food trays, sandwiches and energy snacks were donated to places like the YWCA. We gave a full pallet of water to the drop in centre and we have set up collection of donations at all of our food centres and gas bars for the Red Cross,” she said.

Allen added that wholesaler Federated Co-operatives Limited has agreed to match the Co-op’s cash and in kind donations to the Red Cross up to $25,000.

According to press releases, corporate donations to date from grocery chains include $56,000 from Walmart and $50,000 from Target.

At Sobeys West, Keri Scobie communications manager, said that they are currently assessing the damage to their High River store, and launched the Sobeys Flood Relief Round Up campaign at Sobeys and IGA stores Friday.

“Customers can round their purchases up to the next dollar with the proceeds being donated to the Red Cross, and Sobeys will match our customer donations,” she said, adding that they held a community barbecue Sunday in one of the hardest hit neighbourhoods to collect non-perishable items for the food bank.

Not everything is perfect though. A group has launched a Facebook group YYC Flood Price Gougers to share instances of price gouging in the city.

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