Heather was fairly new in her position at LS&Co. when she learned that her brother, a U.S. Marine had been critically injured in Iraq. He was a member of the elite “Explosive Ordinance Disposal” (EOD) team and was injured by a roadside bomb during his third tour of Iraq. Heather and her family were able to spend just two days with Justin before he passed away from his injuries.
Six months later, Heather and her family had the opportunity to attend an annual memorial service honoring Justin and other fallen EOD technicians, but to do so would create a financial hardship for Heather and her family. Heather’s manager, upon learning of Heather’s situation, contacted the Red Tab Foundation which was able to provide a grant for Heather’s travel expenses to attend the memorial service.
Her manager said, "I was pleased with how quickly Heather was contacted and helped. It shows how much the organization cares for our employees, and it made me proud to be a RTF donor." Heather had her own response to the Foundation's covering her costs associated with the travel to the EOD memorial service: "Words can't express what the Foundation did for me," said Heather. "Everyone, at some point or another, needs help and it's good to know that, as an employee of LS&Co., you're eligible for assistance. I appreciate all the employees who contribute to RTF and who made this aid possible for me."
In Fall 2009, a series of powerful typhoons swept through the Philippines. The storms packed fierce winds and together dumped over 30 inches of rain. The first storm resulted in the heaviest rainfall in 40 years and at one point, 80 percent of Manila - a city of almost 12 million people - was submerged. Severe flooding and landslides displaced tens of thousands of people and hundreds are dead or missing.
Immediately following the first typhoon, staff contacted Cecille Garcia, an HR manager in Manila. She reported that all Manila based employees were safe, but as many as 20 were impacted by the flood waters. Government agencies, as well as the local LS&Co. community involvement team, provided food, water and clothing, so the primary concern among most employees was their longer term needs: essential home repairs, replacement of essential furnishings/appliances and relocation.
In order to provide aid as quickly as possible, RTF streamlined the application process by creating a one page application form and limiting required documentation. In the two weeks following the first storm, over a dozen applications arrived from both employees and retirees.
After learning about the crisis and RTF's response, Bob and Colleen Haas donated $10,000 towards assisting Manila current and former employees. RTF disseminated nearly $10,000 to 9 employees and 14 retirees. The majority of the grants were awarded for critical home repairs, essential furnishings and temporary relocation expenses.
Levi Strauss & Co. operates a distribution center in Canton, MS that employs about 300 people. Though only minor damage was sustained in the Jackson/Canton communities where many of those employees live, Red Tab Foundation began receiving inquiries from employees who were affected and needed our help almost as soon as the lines of communication were restored.
RTF provided small cash grants to replenish spoiled food and supplement food supplies for approximately 40 percent of the company's Canton, MS employees, many of whom took in families who lost their homes. A total of 126 grants were made to employees, for a total of $17,225 in aid.
RTF also engaged in an impromptu employee education effort, circulating information on the spectrum of emergency services available through national and local relief organizations such as FEMA, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA), the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
Immediately after the hurricane disaster, RTF sent outreach letters to retirees in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to let them know RTF was standing by as a potential resource for their needs. Retiree requests centered on food replacement or the cost of supplemental food to nourish flood victims. One of the phone applications was from a Morrilton, Arkansas retiree who had taken in two displaced families. She and her husband are living on social security and her LS&Co. pension. She asked for help, and RTF responded with a grant to cover both food expenses and her overdue utility bills. In total, 7 grants were made to retirees for a total of $1,480 in aid.
RTF continues to seek out opportunities to assist employee and retiree disaster victims and remains a resource to those who continue to play a role in families' recoveries.