The new program, "Operation A-B Cares," is the latest in a series of hurricane relief efforts by the leading American brewer. St. Louis-based employees will be authorized to take up to five days off, with pay, in order to aid relief efforts in St. Louis. To qualify, employees must volunteer at the Red Cross of St. Louis, the St. Louis Chapter of The Salvation Army or St. Patrick’s Center.
"We have all seen the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and the thousands of Americans who have lost everything they own," said Patrick Stokes, president and chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch Companies. "Anheuser- Busch as a company responded in a number of ways, including donating 5 million cans of fresh drinking water and $1 million to the American Red Cross. But employees asked us how they could help, personally. Relief agencies here in St. Louis have an urgent need for volunteers, so this program was a natural fit."
"We see our employee volunteer program as an unprecedented opportunity to translate our longstanding company motto, ’Making Friends Is Our Business,’ into action."
The newly-launched employee volunteer program builds on the company’s longstanding policy of encouraging employees to be involved in their communities. Anheuser-Busch established an employee volunteer grant program several years ago, which awards grants to eligible nonprofit organizations for which its employees regularly volunteer their services.
Anheuser-Busch was one of the first responders on the scene in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to assist with hurricane relief efforts. To date, those efforts have included:
— A cash donation from the company’s foundation in the amount of $1 million to the American Red Cross to help ongoing relief efforts along Gulf Coast communities. Anheuser-Busch is also matching contributions made by its employees to the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and will match up to an additional $1 million from its independent wholesalers nationwide. — Anheuser-Busch has donated more than 5.1 million cans of drinking water to relief efforts. That translates into 215,050 cases, or 100 truckloads of water. If arranged bumper-to-bumper the trucks would form a one-mile long convoy. — Metal Container Corp., Anheuser-Busch’s aluminum can and lid manufacturing subsidiary, is donating millions of cans and lids for the water. Metal Container facilities in Windsor, Colo., Rome, Ga., Gainesville, Fla., and Oklahoma City, Okla., are producing the packages. — Anheuser-Busch has donated nearly 20,000 shirts, pants, hats, coolers and plush toys to relief agencies in Mississippi and Louisiana. — SeaWorld San Antonio is offering free admission to evacuees from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, from Sept. 10 through Nov. 27. — SeaWorld Orlando rescued eight sea lions that were evacuated from their home in Mississippi before Katrina hit. They will stay at SeaWorld’s Pacific Point Preserve until they are returned home. — Anheuser-Busch employees are helping staff a Hurricane Katrina donation telephone bank for the Red Cross in St. Louis. As of this morning, pledges of $12,000 had been secured. — Anheuser-Busch is sending three event tents large enough for 100 people to provide assistance to New Orleans police officers at the request of the police chief. The company is also sending outdated vinyl advertising banners to impacted areas, to be used as temporary roof coverings by hurricane victims.
As a company, Anheuser-Busch and its charitable foundation have reached out to groups that need them, contributing to community organizations across the country and touching countless individual lives. Over the past decade the company and the Anheuser-Busch Foundation have donated more than $330 million to charitable organizations, including those that support education, health care, the arts, cultural enrichment, social services and environmental conservation.