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Grocers Respond to Tornado Outbreak

Hy-Vee, SpartanNash among retailers bringing supplies to those affected by devastating storms
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Hy-Vee disaster
Hy-Vee, which operates a sizable disaster relief fleet, sent seven semi-trucks to affected areas in Nebraska and Iowa. (Image Credit: Hy-Vee Facebook)

After a tornado outbreak flattened homes and, in some cases, communities, in the Plains states and parts of the Midwest, grocers went into assistance mode. 

Hy-Vee Inc., headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, east of the tornadoes’ path, readied its disaster relief fleet and was on the ground within hours of the twisters in Nebraska and Iowa. The grocer sent seven semis to the region, filled with bottled water and snacks, and also used its specially-equipped trailers to serve hot meals to those displaced by the storm and to responders. Additionally, Hy-Vee activated a donation campaign in local stores to support people in the affected communities. 

[RELATED: How Hy-Vee Rolls Out in the Face of Disaster]

Meanwhile, Michigan-based SpartanNash rallied its crews to stock and send out four and a half truckloads of supplies, including bottled water, snacks and cleaning products, to those affected by the storms. SpartanNash operates a distribution center in Omaha, where tornadoes left a trail of destruction. One suburb, Elkhorn, was particularly hard hit.

The food solutions company partnered with The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope to deliver the goods to sites including temporary shelters. “SpartanNash's donations enabled Convoy to provide essential relief supplies to survivors of the storms,” said Ethan Forhetz, VP of public engagement at Convoy of Hope. “We know we can count on SpartanNash when disasters hit." 

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SpartanNash disaster donation
SpartanNash rolled out relief to hard hit areas, distributing bottled water, snacks and other essential supplies.

Severe storms also cut a swath through Oklahoma. One tornado in the town of Marietta, later determined to be an EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, took out a Dollar Tree distribution center and damaged a Dollar General store.

Employee-owned Hy-Vee operates more than 550 business units across eight Midwestern states, with sales of more than $13 billion annually. The company has a team of more than 75,000 employees and is No. 36 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With its 17,000 associates, SpartanNash operates two complementary business segments: food wholesale and grocery retail. Its global supply chain network serves wholesale customers that include independent and chain grocers, national retail brands, e-commerce platforms, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. On the retail side, SpartanNash operates 144 brick-and-mortar grocery stores, primarily under various banners, in addition to dozens of pharmacies and fuel centers. The company is No. 41 on The PG 100 and is among PG’s 2024 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

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