As a neighbor in the communities affected by the attack on America on Sept. 11, 2001, Kmart Corporation (NYSE: KM) today announced the steps it has taken to assist with the relief efforts. The company has found that the worst of tragedies bring out the best in humanity. In the days that have followed the attack, America has seen an overwhelming groundswell of concern for the victims, survivors, rescue personnel and communities impacted -- Kmart's heart goes out to them.
"Kmart is a neighborhood store and it was never more prevalent than during the events of the last few days," said Chuck Conaway, Chairman and CEO, Kmart Corporation. "As a National Disaster Relief Partner of the Red Cross and the only mass retailer in Manhattan, we felt compelled to provide whatever was needed -- blankets, gloves, Visine or American flags -- it was important to us to be sure people had whatever we could offer."
Conaway said that the Red Cross taught the company that their traditional approach to reaching out with truckloads of supplies is not what would help most in this catastrophe. With two stores within two miles of the disaster site and many others in the area that surrounds Manhattan, the most effective way Kmart could help was by trying to make life as simple and comfortable as possible for the people in the immediate area. He recognized the efforts of Kmart Associates in the stores of the communities affected for their tireless contribution on behalf of the company and especially those in the New York area, who were directly impacted.
"There have been many phases over the last few days -- in the hours that followed this horrific event, we had a few people who came into the store looking for shoes because they had lost theirs while running," said Kellie Marsalli, Manager of Kmart's Astor Place Store. "That shifted to dust masks and water and in the last 48 hours, it's been socks, Visine, T-shirts, and gloves for the emergency relief workers -- more than anything we've learned that it's about taking care of our neighbors."
Reaching out to those meeting the needs of so many others, the company's Astor Place K-Cafe has been turned into a rest stop for the emergency relief officials. Kmart is also providing the police and fire fighters with essentials on a continuous basis.
"We're here to make life as comfortable as possible for these brave people. If they need food, clean underclothes or a place to put their head down, we want them to have it," said Marsalli. "This is about the basics."
In partnership with rescue organizations, the company is distributing supplies as needed around the City. Additionally, Kmart will present the National American Red Cross with a corporate gift when its associate giving drive concludes at its headquarters. On an individual store basis, Kmart associates across the country are also contributing by making personal donations to their local chapters of the American Red Cross.
BlueLight.com , a wholly owned subsidiary of Kmart, is offering assistance to those touched by the tragedy by donating all proceeds from the sale of American flags and flag T-shirts on the Web site, to the National office of the American Red Cross.
In recognition of the tireless efforts of emergency relief officials and in response to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's request for Americans to "raise a flag," the company has donated 50,000 hand-held American flags for the City of New York to use as it deems appropriate.
To ensure that everyone in the affected communities can show their pride in America, the company has placed a full-page color flag, on behalf of its associates, in the Sunday editions of the New York Times and Washington Post. Readers are encouraged to, "Remove from newspaper. Place in window. Embrace freedom."
"Our hearts go out to all of the people who have been impacted by this tragedy -- many of them, our neighbors," said Conaway. "We have watched the American Red Cross and these emergency relief officials -- true heroes -- work beyond what is comprehendible by many of us in Corporate America -- this is our way of saying thank you."
Kmart associates across the country will join in the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks by shining their BlueLight in their local communities tonight at 7 p.m. EST.
Kmart Corporation is a near-$40 billion company that serves America with more than 2,100 Kmart and Kmart Supercenter retail outlets and through its e-commerce shopping site, http://www.bluelight.com/ . Kmart donates $35 million each year to support its hometowns and local nonprofit organizations. Kmart associates also provide their most valuable resource -- time -- every day in their local communities. In addition to serving all 50 states, Kmart operations extend to the Caribbean Islands and Asia Pacific. More information about Kmart is available at http://www.bluelight.com/ under the "About Kmart" section.
SOURCE: Kmart Corporation
Contact: Kmart Communications, +1-248-463-1021