Folgers gets New Orleans coffee facility back up and running

by Eric Schroeder
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CINCINNATI — The Procter & Gamble Co. on Friday said its Folgers’ brand New Orleans coffee production and roasting facilities are fully operational, with all systems back up and running at full capacity, following disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina. Folgers notified retailers that supply will return to normal by early December. More than 400 of the company’s 554 employees in New Orleans are back at work.

Folgers has had a presence in New Orleans for more than 50 years, and it produces more than 50% of its coffee in the city.

"The return to full operations at our Folgers plant is a testimony to the dedication and hard work of our plant employees," said Doug McGraw, vice-president of global coffee for P&G. "At the same time, our employees’ well-being and safety has always been our priority and we remain committed to assisting them in returning to New Orleans and rebuilding their lives."

To help employees get back on their feet, P&G has invested $2 million to build Gentilly Village, a temporary employee housing facility with 150 trailers located on the plant site, along with some of the comforts of home, including recreation and dining facilities. A $5,000 employee no-interest loan program was introduced to allow employees immediate access to cash in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

A recently completed employee survey will help Folgers further assess the long-term needs of its employees.

The company also recently created an employee relief fund. To date, the fund has amassed more than $1 million, including the company’s matching contribution. It will provide $650,000 in grants to employees to aid in rebuilding their lives, as well as $400,000 in grants to local New Orleans organizations suggested by the employees themselves. P&G already has provided more than $10 million in cash and product to disaster relief through donations to the American Red Cross and America’s Second Harvest.

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