After being forced to close 66 of its Houston Division stores in advance of Hurricane Rita, and despite power outages, historic traffic jams, and staffing shortages due to mandatory evacuations, H-E-B says it was the first major grocery chain in the greater Houston area to open more than 38 stores in less than 24 hours.

By the end of day September 26, H-E-B had reopened all but eight of its stores, which remain without power. Those stores are mainly in Jefferson, Chambers, Liberty, and Jasper counties, which are among the areas hardest-hit by Rita. H-E-B has been working with utility officials to bring these stores back online as soon as possible.

"Our H-E-B partners performed Herculean efforts to reopen our stores in record speed in order to serve our customers in this time of need," said Scott McClelland, president, H-E-B Houston Division.

H-E-B customers across Texas can help the victims of Hurricane Rita by adding a $1, $3, or $5 donation to their grocery bills. Contributions will be given to the Texas chapters of the American Red Cross. The H-E-B Hurricane Katrina Customer Checkstand Donation Campaign raised more than $250,000 for the relief effort.

The grocery chain also is in contact with Second Harvest Food Banks, American Red Cross, and FEMA to support relief efforts throughout East Texas.