Whole Foods Market is offering zero-interest loans to businesses in Austin, Texas that have been damaged by the Memorial Day flood.
The supermarkets chain, which is headquartered in Austin, is allocating $1 million for the loans, according to a Tuesday announcement. Whole Foods stores in Austin will also collect donations for the American Red Cross of Central Texas.
During Memorial Day weekend, severe rain and flooding ripped through Texas and Oklahoma. Thousands of homes and businesses across the Lone Star State have been destroyed by the flooding. Twenty-one people have been confirmed dead and 13 people are still missing, while more rain is in the forecast.
"Whole Foods Market understands the tragedy of floods. And we also understand the power and positive impact of love in business,” John Mackey, the company’s co-founder and co-CEO, said in the release.
The company experienced a similar catastrophe in 1981, when another flood ravaged Texas on Memorial Day. Its original store in Austin was damaged and its inventory was wiped out. Mackey said Whole Foods would not have made a comeback from the storm if it were not for the support from local businesses and community members.
"Now, 34 years and 419 stores later, we are able to return the favor to Austin and pay it forward to help the current generation of local businesses hurt by recent flooding," he added.
Businesses in the Shoal Creek area can apply for a loan through Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program. They will need to include the name and address of the business, the amount of money being requested, a description of how the money will be used, and the business's organizational document or its articles of incorporation. Affected businesses can find out more about applying for a loan here.
Whole Foods is not the only business trying to assist flood victims. Across the state, local and national businesses and establishments are helping out people affected by the vicious weather.
Louisiana-based restaurant chain Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers will donate 15 percent of its net sales from customers who mention the floods or Red Cross at its Austin and San Antonio area stores on Thursday. People can also give cash donations without purchasing items, according to the chain's release. The proceeds will go to the Red Cross of Central Texas.
Google announced Wednesday that it is donating $300,000 to support flood recovery efforts in Texas and Oklahoma. The money will come from employee donations and funds from Google's charitable arm, Google.org. Whataburger tweeted Tuesday that it will offer free meals to uniformed first responders at its chain's New Braunfels, Kyle, and San Marcos locations until June 9. The burger chain also donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross. Wal-Mart locations in Central Texas, meanwhile, have donated supplies including bottled water and work gloves, and some area Wal-Mart employees are aiding the cleanup effort, according to local news affiliate KVUE.
Additionally, volunteers are pitching in through the local arms of major disaster relief charities, including The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army of Texas, United Way for Greater Austin, and The Austin Disaster Relief network – a network of 134 churches working across the metro area. Those who wish to donate can visit the websites of these organizations below: