TAMPA, Florida– As the local Coca-Cola bottler operating across most of the state of Florida, the impacts of Hurricane Ian are personal to Coca-Cola Beverages Florida (Coke Florida). Associates, customers, and community partners across southwest and central Florida have been directly impacted.
“All of our associates are accounted for and safe, but many suffered tremendous personal loss. The road to recovery will be long and have lasting impacts on their lives. Our people are our greatest asset, they are our family, and we are committed to be with them on this recovery journey,” said Troy Taylor, Coke Florida’s Chairman and CEO.
To aid in the recovery, Coke Florida has committed an additional $500,000 to the Associate Care Fund (ACF). The ACF is an independent 501(c)3 organization established in 2018 and managed by Coke Florida associates. The organization provides ongoing assistance to associates who experience unexpected financial hardship. Funding for the ACF is dependent upon voluntary charitable contributions. Historically Coke Florida and its associates have been the primary contributors, however during these unique times, the fund has accepted donations from a broader group, including Coca-Cola system bottling partners, wanting to assist Coke Florida family members facing financial hardships from this storm.
To further aid in the recovery effort, The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded a $1,000,000 grant to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for people impacted by Ian across Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. In addition, The Coca-Cola Employee Disaster Relief Fund will provide financial assistance to associates impacted by Hurricane Ian. This fund was created to help associates across the Coca-Cola system immediately after a disaster, and is supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Bottling Partners, and system associates.
The Coca-Cola Company is also donating $150,000 to support local nonprofit organizations, such as food banks, as they work to provide recovery assistance to areas affected by the storm.
As boil-water notices increase along with significant power issues and an expanding number of shelters to support those who are displaced, bottled water is a critical need. Together, Coke Florida and The Coca-Cola Company are donating truckloads of DASANI and other hydrating beverages to community partners helping storm victims, first responders, and volunteers.
Thomas Benford, Coke Florida’s President and Chief Operating Officer shared, “At Coke Florida, we are proud of our commitment to the communities where we live, work, and worship. Despite personal challenges, our teams are resilient. We look forward to re-engaging with our customers and communities.” Benford added, “We are also thankful for the outpouring of support from across the Coca-Cola system, its bottling partners, and business colleagues. Former associates, community partners, and others have reached out to help address this tremendous need. We are thankful and confident that we will get through this together and be stronger as a result.”
About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned Coca-Cola bottler. Coke Florida has an exclusive sales and distribution territory that covers over 21 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Coke Florida markets, sells, manufactures, distributes, and merchandises over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. The company is the third largest privately held and the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Coke Florida was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. The company is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified company, one of the largest minority-owned businesses in Florida, and the fourth largest Black-owned businesses in the United States. In 2022, Coke Florida was named a US Best Managed Company by Deloitte-Private and The Wall Street Journal joining an elite group of private companies holding this designation. To learn more, visit www.cocacolaflorida.com.