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    Grocers, Food Banks Extend Lifeline to Iowans Reeling from Floods

    Hy-Vee relocated its Des Moines Triathalon to allow city officials to devote their full attention and resources to flood-related issues.

    While thousands of Iowa residents assess the damage to their homes and property as the overflowing rivers start to subside, retailers including Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, and Target have been funneling cash and merchandise as relief to victim and charitable organizations. America's Second Harvest network of food banks has mobilized to deliver necessary resources to the affected communities as well.

    Barb Prather, executive director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, said food banks are providing food to affected areas, and in the coming months will continue to support the ongoing relief work in Northeast Iowa.

    The Iowa Department of Transportation reopened Interstate 80 late Monday, after retailers across the state were forced to reroute deliveries due to flooding of the Cedar River. All lanes in both directions were open to traffic traveling through Iowa as of yesterday.
     
    Target donated $100,000 in cash and products to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the flood relief efforts. Target said it was immediately fulfilling requests for bottled water as the drinking water source for many communities was jeopardized as the result of the flooding.

    Wal-Mart made a $500,000 contribution in cash and merchandise donations to assist with the flood relief efforts with its longtime disaster response partners, the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, each of which received a portion of the donation. Wal-Mart is working with both organizations to provide food, water and other life-sustaining products to all who have been affected by the floods.
     
    Iowa's leading grocer Hy-Vee, meanwhile moved a planned triathlon event from Des Moines to the campus of West Des Moines Valley Southwoods Freshmen High School, so that Des Moines city officials could devote their full attention and resources to flood-related issues.

    "We appreciate Des Moines' commitment to our event and all the support they have given us in regard to the triathlon," said Randy Edeker, Des Moines-based Hy-Vee's s.v.p./retail operations and co-chair of the event. "We needed to get out of the way so they could address more critical issues.

    "Once again we realize how fortunate we are to live in a city with multiple sites capable of hosting an event of this magnitude," Edeker added.

    News of Hy-Vee's flood relief efforts appeared in local news reports. The chain catered a breakfast for about 180 Iowa National Guard troops in Keokuk last Sunday, according to one report; and a Hy-Vee store in Boone County, Iowa helped the Heart Connection Children's Cancer Programs camp stay open by providing foodservice equipment to fill in for inoperable facilities at the camp.

    Calls to Hy-Vee for additional information about its relief efforts and the condition of its stores in flood areas were not returned yesterday.

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