When record rainfall and catastrophic flooding hit southern Louisiana in August, employees at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank found themselves picking up the pieces along with thousands of businesses and families across the region.
No one was prepared for the flooding – not even the food bank. When the rain stopped, the workers were shocked to find the entire warehouse submerged in five feet of water. The facility was decimated and they lost everything at ground level: computers, office furniture, all but one truck, warehouse equipment and more than 575,000 pounds of purchased and donated food. At a critical time when so many around them needed help – including five of the food bank’s own employees who lost their homes – the food bank staff found themselves in need.
Today they’ve managed to reinstate their volunteer program and food donations, but the lack of offices and equipment limits the number of pickups and deliveries they can make. The staff continues to do what they can to support those in the community with greater needs.
And that’s why Walmart associates wanted to help. Together with The TODAY Show, local associates recently surprised the food bank and those five families who lost everything, as part of the show’s holiday series “Getting to the Heart of Christmas.”
After the food bank staff was gone for the day, a group of Walmart associates did some undercover holiday decorating and delivered some amazing surprises to make this Christmas a bit brighter for the food bank and its staff. The families who are rebuilding their lives were surprised with household goods, Christmas decorations and all the gifts on each family member’s list this year. Each family also received a $2,500 Walmart gift card. And, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank received donations of food, office supplies, computers, tables, chairs and $100,000, which doubles Walmart’s contribution to them to help them as they rebuild.
Check out some of these behind-the-scenes moments leading up to the surprise, as well as the complete story from The TODAY Show.