IP gives $500K for flood

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 25, 2016

International Paper has donated half-a-million dollars to flood relief efforts in Louisiana as well as over 50,000 boxes in Louisiana and Texas to be used to package flood relief aid.

The Memphis-based paper company donated the money to the American Red Cross.

Tom Ryan, a spokesperson for IP, said Louisiana is an important part of the company’s global supply chain.

“Louisiana is a key state for International Paper,” he said. “We’ve got roughly 2,000 employees there at nine sites.”

He said Bogalusa is one of the largest sites in the state, along with their mill in Mansfield, southeast of Shreveport.

The heavy rains earlier this month produced historic flooding across the state and many rivers — including the Pearl River — remain above flood stage weeks following the rain. Floodwaters got into hundreds of homes in Washington Parish, and residents are still cleaning up, tearing out flooring and walls and generally rebuilding. According to a press release from the Red Cross, the flooding displaced thousands of people across the state, and the aid organization is continuing to provide help to about half of the state’s 64 parishes. That help includes meal delivery, shelter, emotional support and other relief.

“Ensuring the safety of our employees and the welfare of the communities where we live and work is the most important thing we do as a company,” said Mark Sutton, chairman and CEO of International Paper, in the Red Cross press release. “We appreciate the assistance the state has provided during this crisis to 2,000 IP employees who call Louisiana home. We hope these contributions help provide relief to the many families who have been impacted.”

Ryan said that although the flood has disrupted the lives of many individuals in the parish and across the state, the Bogalusa paper mill was not seriously affected by the storm because of their dedicated workforce.

“You know, the staff and the team members there have been remarkable,” he said. “We were in an outage period, but they continued to work throughout all this. We have not seen any disruption that will be noticeable to the outside world.”