When it comes to disaster relief, it’s all hands on deck – and companies are stepping up in increasing numbers to provide donations, products and services to help those in need. Although some schools of thought may suggest steering clear of in-kind donations, with the right partner these donations can make all the difference on the ground. Now, two major companies are joining forces to deliver just the type of help needed in the wake of disaster.

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When earthquakes struck central Italy in January, an unlikely duo stepped forward to provide relief. Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool Corporation recently partnered to support communities affected by the earthquakes by providing complementary in-kind donations. The companies worked with the Italian Civil Protection Department to donate 10 laundry containers equipped with washing machines, dryers, irons and laundry detergent. The washing units, active 24 hours a day free of charge, will be installed in earthquake-affected areas such as Norcia, Ancarano, Frascaro, Popoli, San Pellegrino and Savelli. Sami Kahale, President and CEO P&G South Europe, describes why this unique partnership is so important: “In joining forces with Whirlpool Corporation and the Civil Protection Department we saw a way of offering people real help, by enabling them to do their laundry, which we hope will restore a little of their familiar day-to-day routine so dramatically interrupted by the earthquake.”

When disaster strikes, consumers expect companies to play a hand in providing crucial relief. In fact, 89 percent of global citizens think companies should leverage their unique assets to lend support to affected communities. In the case of P&G and Whirlpool, the companies saw a natural synergy between their products – washing machines and detergent – and were able to seamlessly provide in-kind donations to areas in need. When all seems lost, a simple load of fresh laundry is a small but significant gesture.