Some of the biggest food companies in the world have started to pledge aid in cash and food donations to help those affected by hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, while many of their employees are making donations.

They include Kraft Foods has announced that it will provide an initial $1m in food and cash grants including $700,000 in food donations. The first shipment – eight truckloads of Fruit20 flavoured water, Planters nuts, Capri Sun beverages, snacks and cookies – is already on its way. The balance of $300,000 will come in the form of grants for food and shelter relief efforts.

Kraft is providing several ways to help their employees extend a helping hand including a matching gifts program, food and clothing drives, and other volunteer efforts.

Tyson Foods has also said that it and its team members will donate up to $1m in food and financial aid. Tyson is providing truckloads of pre-cooked and shelf-stable meats and will match team member financial donations dollar for dollar.

The contributions will go to assist the relief efforts of the Salvation Army and American Red Cross. The Salvation Army is reportedly preparing to serve up to 500,000 hot meals per day to affected residents and first responders, while the Red Cross has mobilized thousands of volunteers to provide assistance.

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By GlobalData

“We’re saddened by the devastation left by this powerful storm and have joined others across the country in the effort to help those people whose lives have been disrupted,” said John Tyson, chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods. “This disaster especially hits home to us, since those affected include thousands of Tyson Team Members who live in Mississippi.”

Tyson has already donated food for relief efforts in Forest and Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the company operates poultry plants and has also sent a truckload of product to Jackson. The company is also sending three truckloads of bottled water to central Mississippi. In addition, Tyson is providing food and a truck to transport a mobile kitchen for a disaster relief group that will be preparing meals for displaced people who have taken refuge in Prairieville, Louisiana.

The Campbell Soup Company has announced today it will contribute more than $2m of food products, including soup, beverages and baked snacks, to the hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Campbell will also match employee contributions dollar for dollar made to the disaster relief assistance up to a total of $150,000. Additionally, the Campbell Soup Foundation will make a donation of $25,000.

“Campbell Soup Company and its employees are eager to help. We hope that the food products that we are donating will help provide some comfort and nourishment to the victims of this disaster,” said Douglas R. Conant, Campbell’s president and CEO. “While all of our Campbell employees in the region are safe, our sympathies go out to all of those who have been so tragically affected.”

Campbell will coordinate its product donations through America’s Second Harvest food bank, which is working directly with the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other relief agencies in the affected areas. The company’s matching funds will be directed to the American Red Cross’ Katrina Relief Fund.

Campbell will be sending cases of Campbell’s condensed soup, Campbell’s ready-to-serve soup, V8 beverages and Pepperidge Farm products. The food will help feed the victims of hurricane Katrina, including those who are being relocated from New Orleans’ Superdome to Houston’s Astrodome. Campbell will also be working closely with its retail teams and retail partners to identify additional opportunities to help transport the donations.

Unilever United States today announced a product donation of over $2.6m to aid in the personal care and feeding of those affected by Katrina. Unilever is working with America’s Second Harvest to get needed supplies to the American Red Cross as well as local shelters and food banks.

A substantial donation of many of the company’s products including approximately 100,000 bars of soap, 470,000 bottles of shampoo, 12,500 bottles of laundry detergent, 120,000 jars of peanut butter, 110,000 cups of soup, 375,000 cans of ready-to-drink nutritional shakes and 720,000 meal and snack bars will be donated immediately, with additional product donations to come over the next several weeks.

In addition, Unilever will spilt its cash donation equally to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. The company has also set up its own Katrina Disaster Fund that allows employees to voluntarily donate to either the American Red Cross or America’s Second Harvest, with a company two-for-one match (two dollars for every one dollar contributed).

“On behalf of Unilever employees in the United States, our thoughts remain with the many people impacted by this natural disaster,” said John Rice, Unilever president of the Americas and head of the Unilever US Foundation. “In addition to financial assistance, we want to do our part to address the growing health concern for those affected by providing our consumer products.” Rice added, “It’s our everyday mission to meet people’s needs for nutrition, hygiene, and personal care, and we hope that through combined efforts, we can make recovery a little easier for all those affected by this tragic event.”