Distributor W. W. Grainger has teamed up with the American Red Cross to recruit and train corporate employees as disaster volunteers to help support the 70,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year. The program supports the Red Cross' strategic goal to increase volunteer capacity.

Grainger is the national founding sponsor of the program, “Ready When the Time Comes,” which will roll out on 16 Red Cross chapters over the next two years. The initial eight metropolitan communities include Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; New York; Orange County, Calif,; San Francisco; and St. Louis.

The American Red Cross was presented with a $1 million donation from Richard L. Keyser, chairman and CEO of Grainger. Funds from the donation will be distributed to chapter in these cities in the form of grants.

The program was pioneered by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, and has support in Chicago from 17 corporations and a force of 1,100 volunteers. Grainger and the Red Cross have trained more than 180 new Grainger volunteers in Chicago and Denver; the program is also underway in Florida.

Through the “Ready When the Time Comes” program, local Red Cross chapters collaborate with businesses in their areas to recruit and train corporate employees as volunteers. When a disaster strikes, the Red Cross can quickly mobilize this network of well-trained volunteers.

Branch Expansion

In other news, Grainger has opened four new branches in Grandview, Mo.; Troy, Ohio; Dulles, Va.; and Montgomeryville, Pa. A new, expanded showroom was added to the company's Anchorage, Alaska, branch, and the Honolulu branch was recently relocated.