Historic flooding has claimed at least 37 lives in Eastern Kentucky, where scorching heat, steady rain and impassable roads continue to plague the hardest-hit communities and hamper rescue and relief efforts. As flood victims—many of whom lack access to power, clean water and cell phone service—begin to pick up the pieces, the Coca-Cola system and The Coca-Cola Foundation are joining forces to help.
The Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, has awarded a $400,000 grant to help the American Red Cross provide food, shelter, essential supplies and critical emotional support to those left in need by the floods in Kentucky. Additionally, the company’s North America Operating Unit (NAOU) is contributing $75,000 to local nonprofit organizations on the front lines of the ongoing rescue and relief efforts.
The NAOU and independent bottling partners Coca-Cola Consolidated, Middlesboro Coca-Cola Bottling Works and C.C. Clark have donated more than 700,000 bottles of DASANI water and vitaminwater zero sugar, to provide much-needed hydration to flood victims forced to flee their homes and in areas lacking access to clean water.
Truckloads of beverages have been sent to first responders, hospitals and nonprofit partners including Good360 (which works with local state emergency agencies and other local organizations to source and deliver product donations that meet pressing needs) and World Central Kitchen (which mobilizes local chefs and volunteers to provide meals in response to crises), with more on the way.
“Coming together to act in times of crisis is a reflection of The Coca-Cola Company’s purpose to refresh the world and make a difference,” said Jeremy Faa, President, South Zone, Coca-Cola NAOU. “In tandem with our valued bottling partners who are the local face of Coca-Cola and our direct link to community organizations and resources across Kentucky, we continue to collaborate with authorities and relief agencies working around the clock in response to this evolving and challenging situation.”
Additionally, the Coca-Cola Consolidated Response Team comprised of employee volunteers is on the ground assisting impacted communities and teammates.
“We want to help residents stay safe and recover any way we can, whether it’s providing clean drinking water, clearing trees and debris, or just letting people know we care. We are praying for these communities and we’re here to serve them during this challenging time,” said Ellison Glenn, Coke Consolidated’s Market Unit Vice President and General Manager in Kentucky.
The Coca-Cola Company is an ongoing supporter of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, which helps the humanitarian organization be ready to respond to disasters both big and small, any time and anywhere across the United States, while also helping prepare people and communities for disasters yet to come.
In addition to supporting local communities, the Coca-Cola system’s top priority following a natural disaster is to ensure the safety of all associates and their families. The Coca-Cola Employee Disaster Relief Fund, supported by Coca-Cola colleagues with additional funding from the Coca-Cola system and The Coca-Cola Foundation, will provide financial assistance to those impacted by the Kentucky flooding.
In 2021, The Coca-Cola Foundation provided more than $7 million in funding globally for natural disaster preparedness and relief—as well as other humanitarian aid efforts. These donations supported 15 countries and included responses to earthquakes in Haiti and Croatia; flooding in Sudan, Canada, Germany, China and Belgium; tornados, winter storms and Hurricane Ida in the United States; wildfires in Turkey; a volcano in the Caribbean; a super typhoon in the Philippines; and the refugee crisis in Afghanistan.