Three weeks ago, intense rainfall along Colorado’s Front Range caused massive localized flooding that devastated homes, closed major highways and required the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Estes Park in Colorado

Coke associates took pictures of Estes Park in Colorado.

At least eight people lost their lives. President Obama signed a major disaster declaration for Colorado, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.  While many Coca-Cola employees experienced flooding in their homes and four were evacuated, we are very thankful that all are safe and accounted for.  Our local team has worked to ensure they receive needed support during this difficult time. 

The Coca-Cola Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the American Red Cross to support flood relief efforts in Colorado.

Our Denver and Colorado Springs distribution centers are now open and operating normally, but the disaster initially hampered deliveries to customers in Boulder, Estes Park, Lyons, Longmont, Loveland, Firestone, Johnstown, Superior and Louisville.

Walgreens delivery in Boulder, CO

Coca-Cola associates making a delivery soon after the flooding at a Walgreens in Boulder, CO.

Coca-Cola’s Colorado team provided beverages to evacuation centers. The team has worked tirelessly with the Red Cross and other relief organizations, Governor John Hickenlooper’s office, customers, and the local communities to provide relief loads of DASANI water and other beverages.

“When people see the Coca-Cola brand, with our history and heritage, it gives them a feeling that things are going to be okay,” said Denver Distribution Center Manager Torin Newman.  “It gives them a flavor of something familiar among the chaos that overtook the town.  Our team came together with our customers and the community to help people get access to clean water and provide a glimmer of normalcy.”

On Monday, September 23, our local team coordinated with the Colorado Department of Transportation and the National Guard to deliver beverages to a Safeway store in Estes Park.  Coca-Cola was the first beverage vendor to enter the town since Friday, September 13, when flooding closed and washed away roads. 

Distribution Supervisors Bill Frisbie and Tom Cruz made that first delivery in a Coca-Cola truck.  It was a seven hour trek round-trip.  As they drove into town, bystanders cheered and a bicyclist gave Bill a resounding thumbs up. 

“It was surreal to see places where entire roads were washed away and houses were now located in the middle of lakes,” said Frisbie.

Highway 72 estes colorado 300

Highway 72 on the way to Estes Park in Colorado.

“Military were posted at almost every corner and they cleared our truck immediately to get into the town of Estes Park with a welcome wave,” said Cruz.

The Safeway manager was grateful to welcome Coca-Cola into their store.  Business Manager Jami Mathews and Merchandising Manager Pete Hernandez helped fill store shelves with beverages. 

“The shelves were nearly empty when we arrived and people were taking cases almost as fast as we were able to put them on the shelves,” said Hernandez.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to help the community,” said Mathews.  “It was an incredibly rewarding experience and probably one of the most fulfilling aspects of working for this company.” 

Field Service Director Steven Josselyn and Full Service Supervisor Scott Penrod from Colorado Springs joined others over the weekend making water deliveries to impacted towns.

While final damage assessments are still being conducted, Coca-Cola is staying close to our associates, customers and partners to support the relief efforts in Colorado. We appreciate everyone’s efforts and generosity in helping the people of this area recover from this disaster. 

If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Jennifer Lemming

Jennifer Lemming is Manager of Public Affairs for The Coca-Cola Company in Colorado.