NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 8, 2005) – Bridgestone Corp. and its North American businesses have donated more than $1 million to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina response, and the firm's 2,200-plus company-owned U.S. retail stores are offering customers a way to lend a helping hand.
Of the total, Bridgestone Corp. donated $900,000 and Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH) contributed $100,000. Firestone Polymers Co., an operating unit of Bridgestone Americas, which has a plant in Lake Charles, La., also donated $10,000 along with a corporate match of up to $10,000 for employee contributions.
In addition, consumers will be able to contribute to relief efforts at any Firestone Complete Auto Care, TiresPlus, ExpertTire and GCR Tire Centers locations, which have been designated Red Cross Official Cash Donation Sites.
“The American Red Cross is the way neighbors help neighbors in disasters,” said Marsha J. Evans, Red Cross president and CEO. “We are profoundly grateful to Bridgestone…for being good neighbors to the countless people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.”
“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, in a prepared statement. “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.”
“The true scope of the tragedy that is Hurricane Katrina is still not fully apparent, but what we do know, however, is devastating,” said Mark Emkes, BSAH chairman and CEO. “That is why we are pleased to be able to do our part to work with the American Red Cross to assist in the relief efforts. I am proud of our company's ongoing commitment to serving the community, stepping up in a time of crisis to do what we can to help survivors and investing in rebuilding efforts.”
Starting Sept. 1, customers visiting any one of the company-owned retail stores can contribute directly to the American Red Cross. They will be able to make a contribution in any amount at the checkout register, and their donation will be noted on the receipt as “American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund” for tax purposes.
“So many lives have been affected by the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,” said Larry Magee, chairman, CEO and president of BFS Retail & Commercial Operations L.L.C., which operates the retail locations.
“Many of our own teammates in the Gulf Coast Region have lost their homes and much of what they own,” he said. “We will do whatever we can to help them begin the arduous process of rebuilding their lives. We are proud to work with the American Red Cross to assist in the relief efforts for the thousands of families who are struggling to recover from this disaster.”
BSAH will also use the retail company's Associate Assistance Program to assist retail and commercial employees who have suffered losses from the hurricane.
Since 1998, Bridgestone Corp. and Bridgestone Americas have donated more than $3.5 million to the American and Japan Red Cross for various relief and assistance programs.
The Disaster Relief Fund provides food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and thousands of other disasters each year.