Wal-Mart, Federated fund Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts

Wal-Mart, the giant retailer has so far given $17 million in relief aid, according to published reports. It also has given away $3 million in diapers, toothbrushes, baby wipes, and other personal items through “Mini-Wal-Marts” set up in affected parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama — areas that CEO Lee Scott dubbed Wal-Mart Country because of the company’s presence there. Mobile stores also have been set up at some evacuation centers.

Wal-Mart is taking donations at all its stores and on its Web sites for the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

In addition, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is offering its 34,000 employees displaced by the hurricane work in cities where they’ve relocated. Workers whose homes were flooded or destroyed can get $1,000 from a relief fund.

“Our goal is to help associates get back on their feet and move forward with their lives,” Melissa O’Brien, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, reportedly said.

Federated Department Stores, the biggest U.S. department store operator, kicks off a drive today to raise at least $3 million, USA Today reports. Customers can give with or without a purchase in stores and online. Funds will go to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.