Amanda Bergeron had been an assistant store manager just two weeks when Hurricane Laura struck the Gulf Coast in August, destroying her store in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Several employees were displaced from their homes as the Category 4 storm knocked out power and much of the city’s water. The store was rebuilt from the ground up — an endeavor that took nearly two months.
Then, just weeks after the store’s grand reopening the first weekend of October, it was closed again in preparation for Hurricane Zeta. Thankfully, the storm changed course, and the team narrowly avoided another disaster.
Our Lake Charles store was among a number of locations that felt the impact of an historic year of natural disasters, including wildfires on the West Coast and a record-breaking hurricane season. But through it all, Best Buy’s community of employees and customers came together to support local response and recovery efforts from California to Louisiana and Florida.
Amanda felt support from across the company, and she and her co-workers were happy to help provide support for others in the area, too.
“It’s a family, and that’s what I love about this community within Best Buy and our store,” she said. “We’re in it together.”
‘They put all that aside’
In the aftermath of the hurricanes, Amanda and General Manager Chad Mitchell rallied their team to volunteer with Mercy Chefs. The group handed out cases of water, fruit, vegetables and cleaning supplies.
They helped even more people in their community by donating fresh meals through Convoy of Hope.
“It was nonstop. So many people driving up in tears. People felt forgotten, so it was something that Best Buy could really do,” Amanda said. “It gave the team back something, as well. They have their own devastation, but they put all that aside for three days to give back to the community.”
The Best Buy Foundation also awarded a $5,000 grant to support Convoy of Hope’s community efforts.
Support for employees, community
To provide additional support to those affected by these recent disasters, we launched a donation campaign in stores and online that helped raise $647,783 for the American Red Cross.
The donations helped the organization support communities impacted by recent natural disasters like Hurricanes Laura and Zeta, while continuing relief efforts in regions previously impacted by storms and wildfires. This includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies and other assistance.
Additionally, Best Buy provided resources for employees in affected areas and opportunities for employees across the company to help their colleagues. Employees in disaster-stricken areas that are eligible were offered financial support from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, established by our founder, Dick Schulze.
We matched 100% of all employee donations made to the foundation and gave employees the option to donate paid time off to their colleagues who were affected by disasters.
“One of the things I did not realize was just how much the company puts focus around the employee in these types of tragedies,” Chad said. “I learned an incredible amount during this crisis about what we’re prepared to do to take care of our people.”
Ale Valeriano contributed to this story.