MN Cos. Pledge More than $1.25M for Sandy Recovery

Local companies have pledged monetary support to the American Red Cross and other charities, but they have also offered other types of aid, including truckloads of food, paid vacation to employees dedicated to providing relief, and matching employee contributions; total donations exceed $1.25 million in value.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many Minnesota businesses—including Target Corporation, U.S. Bancorp, Medtronic, General Mills, Hormel Foods, and Regis Corporation—have together pledged more than $1.25 million in support to those affected by the damaging storm.

Minneapolis-based Target said late last week that it has donated $500,000 worth of aid—including $425,000 in cash and in-kind donations to the American Red Cross, $50,000 in cash to the Salvation Army, and $25,000 in gift cards to local Target stores to help with community needs.

Target was among the Minnesota-based retailers forced to close stores during the storm. (Others included Richfield-based Best Buy and Eden Prairie-based Supervalu.) The company said late last week that it had reopened all stores but was monitoring road conditions and working with its distribution centers and vendors to replenish stores as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp said that it has committed $250,000 to the American Red Cross to aid those on the East Coast. The company said that it’s also encouraging its employees to take advantage of a program through which the U.S. Bancorp Foundation will match employee donations. Furthermore, U.S. Bancorp said that it is waiving certain late fees for bank and mortgage customers who were affected by the storm.

Another company pledging support is Fridley-based Medtronic, Inc., which said that the Medtronic Foundation has granted $250,000 to the Red Cross to support relief efforts; in addition, Medtronic employees have been offered five days of paid leave to assist in recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, Golden Valley-based General Mills announced that the General Mills Foundation is providing $250,000 in aid—including $125,000 to the Red Cross and $125,000 to Feeding America, which operates a nationwide network of food shelves.

One company sending non-monetary support is Austin-based Hormel Foods Corporation. The company said that it donated four semi-trailer loads of products to support those affected by the hurricane. The donations included about 110,400 non-refrigerated, microwaveable meals featuring chicken, beef, turkey, pasta, and other items. The company also sent two trailers full, or 156,000 packs, of fully cooked white chicken cuts that are marketed for use as pizza toppings but can be added to any meal.

In addition, Edina-based hair salon operator Regis Corporation, which said Friday that more than 560 of its salons were affected by the storm, announced that it is donating an unspecified amount of money to the Red Cross. The company said that it will continue to support those affected by the storm “throughout the recovery process.”

The New York Times reported Sunday that the hurricane shut down shipping terminals and submerged warehouses, and it also slowed deliveries because of downed power lines, closed roads, and scarce gasoline in parts of New York and New Jersey. The newspaper reported that the storm could affect the holiday shopping season, as businesses have warned customers of delays and have been forced to cancel orders.

But the storm could actually be a boon to some businesses. For example, the Star Tribune reported that Golden Valley-based water filtration company Pentair, Inc., was busy last week expediting shipments of water pumps and related products to the East Coast. In fact, CEO Randall Hogan reportedly told analysts that he expects emergency product sales fueled by Sandy to total about $10 million. (To learn more, read the full Star Tribune story here.)

Pentair has played a significant role in past disasters, as well; to learn about how the company’s massive propeller pumps helped divert water away from levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Isaac, click here.