John Sherman, CEO, Coca-Cola UNITED shares updates on our UNITED Family members after southern Louisiana flooding and thanks for the tremendous efforts over the past 72 hours …
I must begin by thanking all my UNITED colleagues who’ve played a part in the progress we’ve made during the past 72 hours in South Louisiana. All our facilities are open and operating, although significantly impacted by customers and associates who’ve been affected by the flood or communities that remain inaccessible. The fighting spirit of our UNITED team continues to amaze me and I’m grateful for the many volunteers who’ve left their families and are sleeping in the Baton Rouge facility simply to help restore our operations.
However, the most devastating impact of this disastrous flood has been to our fellow associates. As of 10:00 AM today, August 17th, 177 members of our Coca-Cola UNITED family have experienced either total loss of their home and/or vehicles or significant damage; this amounts to nearly 40% of the entire Baton Rouge team. Additionally, there are 82 associates whose personal property loss has not yet been verified, as all communications are not yet restored and all places are not yet accessible. Therefore, I expect this loss number to rise.
Over the past several days, many of our teammates, both in UNITED and across the Coca-Cola System, and also many of our business partners, have asked how they can help. First, let me acknowledge that a grant to aid in the disaster relief efforts by the American Red Cross is currently under review by The Coca-Cola Foundation, and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola has already donated nearly 5,000 cases of product to various emergency groups, the American Red Cross, and other first responders. Obviously, the needs are great and will continue.
To support our teammates who have lost so much, UNITED has established 2 ways to personally join the efforts. At this time, only monetary contributions are being collected, as we simply don’t have the manpower or resources to manage donated goods.
On behalf of our Louisiana team, we are grateful for your many thoughts and prayers. I will continue to update you as we have more information or discover new ways to help.
Chief Executive Officer
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.