Just days after the explosion that devastated vast areas of central Beirut on August 4, 2020, donations and material aid began pouring into the country from around the world. The United States government alone donated over $18 million dollars in emergency aid to help the residents of Beirut get back on their feet and begin rebuilding their capital. Private American businesses have been equally as generous, donating thousands of dollars to Lebanese organizations and providing vital products and services.
C.E.O Michael Duggal, of Duggal Visual Solutions, has been a leading name in providing PPE to healthcare workers and institutions in the U.S. for months now. With the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duggal transformed his highly successful print and digital innovation company into manufacturing operations for protective face shields and clothing. In the after the devastating blast, Duggal donated face shields to Lebanon, not only in the aim of helping protect healthcare and other essential workers as they battle a rising number of COVID-19 cases and rebuild Beirut’s ruined hospital wings, but also to set a model for similar initiatives in the destroyed city.
Another generous donation came from multinational corporation Procter & Gamble (P&G), who showed their support early on. To this date, P&G has pledged to contribute $1 million in the form of monetary and in-kind aid to rehabilitating and rebuilding Lebanon. P&G, a leader in consumer products, has been a leader in providing sanitary items and PPE to the Middle East through their initiative Force for Good. Always Arabia, a company under the umbrella of P&G, has also committed to sending 1.8 million hygienic pads to women affected by the blast.
Everyone’s go-to coffee franchise is also chipping in to help areas that were impacted by the blast. The Starbucks Foundation partnered with Alshaya Group, an international franchise operator, to match donations up to $100,000 each. Their main focus will be providing food and shelter to residents and on-the-ground organizations working in Lebanon. Starbucks will give $75,000 to CARE International in Lebanon, and $25,000 to the World Central Kitchen, an NGO that provides meals for those impacted by natural disasters. Local Starbucks employees in Beirut have also been involved in cleaning the streets, as well as providing water and coffee for volunteers.
Contributions such as Duggal’s, P&G, Starbucks and other American corporations represent an immense and much-welcomed effort as Lebanon begins the reconstruction of its infrastructure and the rehabilitation of its population. With a large number of Lebanese living in the U.S., the connection between the two countries runs deep. The Lebanese diaspora and the American people have been sending a wave of warm wishes and emotional support, which, albeit intangible, significantly bolsters morale during arguably one of the most devastating singular events in the Lebanese capital’s history.