Bridgestone joins corporate donors in Katrina relief effort

| Friday, September 09, 2005

Bridgestone has added its name to the growing list of companies that have donated large sums of money to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Bridgestone Global Group of Companies donated more than $1 million to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina response. Additionally, more than 2,200 company-owned retail stores across the United States - including Firestone Complete Auto Care, TiresPlus, ExpertTire and GCR Tire Centers - have been designated as official Red Cross cash donation sites.

"As a global company, we are touched by the physical devastation and human suffering that Hurricane Katrina left in her wake," said Shigeo Watanabe, Bridgestone chairman, CEO and president. "We have teammates, customers and consumers who have suffered terribly, and we are honored to do our part to help the American Red Cross alleviate some of the suffering."

With total financial losses from the storm expected to top more than $100 billion, money collected from individuals has also been an enormous help. As of Thursday, Sept. 8, the American Red Cross announced it has received $503 million in gifts and pledges for the hurricane relief effort.

"It's greater than any response we've had in memory," Ryland Dodge, a spokesman for the Red Cross, told The Associated Press.

A growing number of companies, many within the trucking industry, are donating their goods, services and, most notably, money, to help those devastated by the storm.

Convenience store operator The Spinx Co. Inc. - which has a number of stores throughout North and South Carolina - said it will operate at a zero profit margin on all gasoline sales and merchandise sales from Aug. 29 through Sept. 12. and is donating all profits during that time to the American Red Cross.

Company President Stewart Spinks said he is taking this action to help absorb the dramatic increase in wholesale gasoline prices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"We at The Spinx Company are doing all we can to ensure our stores have the gasoline our customers need to conduct their daily lives in a community-centric and responsible manner even when profits must be foregone," Spinks said in a press release.

Although Spinx' zero-profit-margin approach is unique, it is only one of a number of businesses donating money to the relief effort.

According to various media reports, other trucking-related businesses' donations include:

  • Dana Corporation - $50,000 to the Red Cross, matched employee contributions;
  • FedEx - Offered to airlift donations;
  • Navistar - Donated the use of cars, trucks, logistics equipment and a 7,750-square-foot facility;
  • PACCAR - $1 million to the Red Cross;
  • Tesoro Corp. - $100,000 to the Red Cross and Salvation Army, matched employee contributions, helped with food bank collection in San Antonio;
  • UPS - $500,000 in cash, $750,000 in services;

Several large oil companies also gave cash donations:

  • BP - $1 million to the Red Cross;
  • Chevron - $5 million ($3 million to the Red Cross and $2 million to local charities);
  • ConocoPhillips - $3 million, matched employee contributions;
  • Exxon Mobil - $2 million to the Red Cross, $5 million in grants to local relief efforts;
  • MAR Oil - $13,200 to the Red Cross;

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