The American Red Cross says International Paper has authorized a $500,000 critical community need disaster relief grant to the agency to help with recent flooding in Louisiana.

In addition to the grant, IP's Industrial Packaging business has donated more than 50,000 boxes to local food banks and church groups to distribute to residents hardest-hit by the flooding. International Paper is based in Memphis, Tennessee, but has nine facilities in Louisiana, including in Mansfield.

"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 IP Chairman & CEO Mark Sutton. "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."

According to the Red Cross, the flood damage is widespread, affecting more than half of Louisiana's 64 parishes. Since the flooding began, about 600 Red Cross workers have provided 2,500 overnight stays in 30 shelters -- including one at the Bossier Civic Center -- served over 134,000 meals and snacks, and distributed over 32,000 relief items, including comfort kits and cleaning supplies.

Mental health services workers have also provided emotional support during the difficult recovery period.

"The flood fight in the south is far from over, with rivers still flooding in Louisiana. Even as the waters recede, these floods continue to have a devastating impact on the lives of people across the state of Louisiana," said Vice President of Disaster Cycle Services Operations and Logistics Brad Kieserman. "In the midst of our response, I want to take a moment to thank International Paper for their generous support of the American Red Cross."

Kieserman also said because of partners like IP, the agency has been able to be there in the aftermath of the floods, and continue its support of those facing countless other disasters across the country.

Find out more about Red Cross disaster relief on the agency's website.

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