Walmart donates $20,000 to tornado relief

Published 2:46 pm Thursday, July 8, 2010

In what marked the third week since tornadoes and severe weather struck Freeborn County, Walmart officials on Thursday donated $20,000 to the Albert Lea Salvation Army to help defray the cost of response and long-term recovery from the recent storms.

During a presentation of the funds outside the store, Albert Lea Walmart Manager Mike Keeran thanked the Salvation Army disaster response team volunteers for their efforts to provide hydration, meals and a listening ear to people affected.

Keeran said after the tornadoes struck, he and the Walmart employees rallied together to see what they could do to help.

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He presented the money on behalf of the company and its associates.

Walmart officials made a similar presentation last week to the Salvation Army in Wadena.

Salvation Army Capt. Jim Brickson said immediately after the sun rose on June 18, Keeran was in contact with Salvation Army officials, desiring to help with immediate needs. Walmart supplied disaster workers with several pallets of water and Gatorade for distribution to victims and volunteers.

“I applaud Walmart and their efforts to being part of this and other communities,” Brickson said. “Without their financial support to this recovery, The Salvation Army would continue to struggle during these harsh economic times.”

Brickson said after the tornadoes hit Freeborn County on June 17, the local Salvation Army disaster team supplied almost 11,000 meals, more than 16,000 drinks and almost 7,000 snacks to people affected. They’ve provided critical stress management to over 600 people, and in total more than 2,100 hours have been spent by workers and volunteers with this organization, he said.

“And we’re not done,” Brickson noted.

Now that immediate needs have been met, he said the organization is committed to any unmet needs in this area.

The Salvation Army officials are gathering agency input and services that will be available to tornado-stricken victims.

To reach the Salvation Army, call 373-5710.