Tuesday, February 02 2010
EVANSVILLE — In addition to Tri-State residents donating more than $100,000, area businesses are giving however they can to Haiti earthquake relief efforts.
"There have been a number of businesses that have stepped up," said Greg Waite of the American Red Cross for Southwestern Indiana.
Within days of the earthquake, Mead Johnson Nutrition shipped $100,000 worth of baby formula to Haiti. The company, whose corporate offices are in Evansville, also has operations in the Dominican Republic.
"Having a neighboring business was so beneficial because we were able to act so quickly," said Susan Wedeking, a spokeswoman for Mead Johnson. "We will provide additional assistance as we can. Each disaster is different, but oftentimes we are able to provide help."
The company is also one of several in the area that is matching their employees' donations to relief efforts.
Other companies doing so include Vectren, Duke Energy, Toyota and several banks.
AmeriQual, which specializes in the production of shelf-stable food products that don't require cooking, is ramping up production to replace all of its reserves it had in stock to help during a disaster.
Tim Brauer, the company's president, said it has distributed close to a million meals and another million to the American Red Cross.
"That's a lot of meals moving around that are hopefully getting to the people who need them," he said. "We maintain in the range of a million to 2 million meals in storage just for events like this."
Designed to assist in disasters, the American Red Cross has been a leading organization with relief efforts in Haiti.
The national organization's focus has been on three areas:
n Sending food to those in need, including 3 million pre-packaged meals and funding for World Food Program efforts that will enable them to feed up to 1 million people for a month.
- Providing clean drinking water.
- Distributing shelter items, such as blankets, tarps, sleeping mats and tents to homeless families.
Locally, Waite said, the Tri-State has donated more than $100,000 to the agency to help with relief efforts.
"That's from people who've walked in through a chapter door or made a donation online," he said. "(The community) has been amazing, and they're asking, 'What else can we do?'"
Waite said a key part is making sure the community is up to date on efforts in Haiti, "so when they see those images, they're reassured" about where their donation is going.