Oso Strong – Walmart Supports Disaster Relief Efforts after Washington Mudslide

By Jeffrey "Fritz" Fittinger
April 4, 2014
WA Mudslide OSO Strong

It’s been nearly two weeks since a major mudslide devastated our area claiming lives and destroying homes. As the store manager of the Walmart store closest to the disaster, almost everyone working here knows someone personally impacted by this disaster.

Our community is hurting but despite all the devastation and heartbreak, I’m proud to work for a company like Walmart that empowers me as a store manager to help respond to the emergency and life-sustaining needs of my community.

I’m amazed at my team and how we’ve all pulled together to help our neighbors in Oso. Everyone has pitched in to help box up items from the store that we’ve given to local relief efforts. Our donations have included pallets of water, grab and go snacks, diapers, baby formula, sanitizing wipes, paper towels and other toiletries needed for the local Red Cross shelter.

We’ve also helped with some unique donation requests. For example, we learned that search crews needed duct tape to keep their boots strapped on because the mud would literally pull them off their feet. Another interesting request was the need for shopping carts at the Arlington Food Bank. Volunteers there are using them to load up items needed for care packages. We’ve also provided rain suits, socks and towels for those helping with the search efforts.

At Walmart, most people think of our disaster response as limited to multi-state disasters like Hurricane Katrina. But that’s not the case. With a Walmart store located within 15 miles of nearly 95% of the U.S. population, every disaster literally hits home for one of our 4,838 stores or clubs in America. I'm grateful to know my corporate leadership stands behind me and other store managers to do the right thing when it comes to giving to the communities we serve.