Our Coca-Cola UNITED Family is 5,800 associates strong, and they are the heart of our company. They live, work and serve in communities across our franchise footprint in 7 southeastern states; one of which is Louisiana. Recently, torrential rains caused unprecedented flooding in most of southern Louisiana resulting in 20 parishes declared as federal disaster areas by FEMA.
Flooding and devastation in Baton Rouge, LA on Aug. 15, 2016. U.S. service members rescued residents and provided relief. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake
In the affected areas are Baton Rouge Coca-Cola, the local Coca-Cola bottler and headquarters for UNITED’s West Region operations, Lafayette Coca-Cola, New Iberia Coca-Cola and a portion of the Crescent City (New Orleans) Coca-Cola; collectively employing over 1,400 associates in the UNITED Family. Of these locations, our Baton Rouge Coca-Cola team was most affected as approximately 40% of our associates suffered a complete loss of or significant damage to homes and/or vehicles.
Immediately, our teams began contacting our associates to confirm their safety. Within 72 hours, despite communications challenges, our UNITED Family received confirmation that our fellow associates had been contacted and reported as safe.
Interviews with associates were conducted as soon as possible to assess damages and identify needs.
In the following weeks, teams of local, UNITED and other volunteers were assigned to associate’s homes to remove flooring, sheetrock, and help mend and rebuild wherever possible. In one weekend alone, nearly 100 volunteers from our neighboring franchise locations worked side by side with fellow associates in their homes. (Click to read other periodic progress and associate updates of our associates.)
In addition to hands-on volunteers, others wanted to help by making financial contributions. Coca-Cola UNITED then established the “Coca-Cola Employee Relief Fund” to meet the needs of our associates affected by the floods.
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support from our UNITED family, Coca-Cola System, business partners, communities, and friends.
We are also pleased to announce that, in conjunction with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation … all *contributions to the Coca-Cola Employee Relief Fund are tax-deductible and should be sent as directed below.
We are extremely grateful these benefits have been made available to both donors and recipients of the grants.
To date, over 200 of our associates have experienced either a total loss of home and/or vehicles or have suffered significant damage; more than 150 are still unable to return to their homes. Even with hundreds of volunteers from the American Red Cross and other relief organizations still on the ground, the restoration efforts in the Baton Rouge area will continue for many, many more months to come. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
*Donations made previously to the Coca Cola Employee Relief Fund will be transferred into the new fund and WILL BE tax deductible. All donors will receive a tax receipt either by mail or online. Additionally, grants made to employees are not taxed as ordinary income by the federal government. *
Make a tax-deductible gift on-line:
If you prefer giving by check:
Make check payable to:
“Coca-Cola Employee Relief Fund”
c/o Baton Rouge Area Foundation
100 North Street, Suite 900
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
On behalf of Coca-Cola UNITED and our associates and their families, we thank you for your continued generosity, support and concern for our UNITED associates affected by the southern Louisiana floods.
Using the convenient social sharing icons at the top of this article, please feel free to share this message with those who may want to help by making a monetary contribution.