Atlanta Companies and Workers Help Rebuild Joplin

Rebuild Joplin Almost 200 workers from Atlanta have teamed up to help their Southern brothers and sisters in Joplin recover and rebuild after last month's devastating tornado. Volunteers from The Home Depot got on a charter flight courtesy of Delta Air Lines so that they could help with a number of services, including installing "Blue Roofs" (blue tarps) over damaged homes, debris removal and general cleanup.

These volunteers added to the more than 500 Home Depot associates who already have made the trek to Joplin to volunteer their time and specialized skills to help with the community's recovery and repair.

In addition to volunteers, the Delta plane also carried several thousand pounds of donated paper towels and industrial wipes from Georgia-Pacific. Chick-Fil-A and Coca-Cola provided food and water to keep The Home Depot volunteers fueled for the day's activities.

"The people of Joplin, including one-third of our own associates, are still cleaning up and recovering from the damage done to their homes by the deadly tornado on May 22," said Kelly Caffarelli, president of the Home Depot Foundation. "The Home Depot's associates in Atlanta have been asking for the opportunity to go to Joplin to help the community and their fellow associates. Thanks to the generosity of Atlanta companies like Delta and Georgia-Pacific, we're making that happen today."

More than 25 Delta employees were involved in the operational and logistical effort. The value of the manpower, aircraft and cargo space totals approximately $50,000 in support of the relief mission.

"Delta has called Atlanta home for 70 years and seven decades of building relationships in this community, means that we band together to help those dealing with a tragedy like the tornado that powered through Joplin -- whether the need is an ocean away or right in our backyard," said Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president of marketing.

The day's activities coincided with the opening of The Home Depot's 60,000-square-foot temporary store to serve the residents of Joplin. While the company is in the process of rebuilding its permanent location, the temporary store will have many of the items that customers expect to find at The Home Depot, with a focus on products and services residents need for the recovery and rebuilding process.

Team Depot, The Home Depot's associate-led volunteer force, is playing a major role in Joplin's disaster recovery. Efforts include working with the nonprofit disaster relief organization Operation Blessing International to provide assistance to Joplin residents affected by the recent tornado. Associates are repairing and replacing the roof, windows and siding on a fellow Joplin associate's home, which was severely damaged by the tornado. In addition, Team Depot will be repairing and renovating the local Little League Park.

This effort is part of The Home Depot's ongoing commitment to support Joplin and its residents as they rebuild. The company has committed to rebuild its own store and The Home Depot Foundation has pledged $1 million toward Joplin's cleanup and reconstruction. The Foundation has already distributed $250,000 of its commitment.

In addition, 33 of The Home Depot's 93 associates in Joplin were affected by the tornado. As a result, The Homer Fund, a nonprofit charity dedicated to help associates in times of need, has launched a companywide "Drive for Joplin" campaign. To date, The Homer Fund has distributed almost $40,000 of the $60,000 it has raised for Joplin associates.

You hear so many stories of evil corporate America and big business exploiting its customers and employees that a story like this is a breath of fresh air.

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