Claim:   A Pepsi distributor stopped donating supplies to the God’s Pit Crew relief agency because of the charity’s name.


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2009]

I found out something yesterday about Pepsi Cola that will stop me from ever buying another Pepsi Cola products again. I think we all know about God’s Pit Crew here in Danville, VA and we all know what they’ve done to help families in need and help during storm devistation or natural disasters. Pepsi Cola has been donating Gatorade to God’s Pit Crew. Well sometime last week one of the God’s Pit Crew trailors drove to Richmond, VA to pick up some Gatorades from Pepsi Cola and it just so happened that when they got there one of the head representatives from Pepsi Cola was

visting the plant in Richmond. When he saw the God’s Pit Crew trailor pull up and saw the word “God” on the side of the trailor he found out what they were there for and told the driver for God’s Pit Crew that they would no longer be donating Gatorade to them and he said that they would not donate anything to organizations based on Christian faith. This really hurt the God’s Pit Crew but thankfully they talked to Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola has already donated $50,000 to God’s Pit Crew and they are most likely going to start donating products to the God’s Pit Crew now for their different needs. God’s Pit Crew found out that Coca-Cola is already donating to Billy Graham’s organization. I think that this is a good opportunity for Christian’s to take a stand against something. Why should we buy products from them and help them out when they are unwilling to help out families in need through a Christian organization. Please pass this e-mail on to every Christian you know. Maybe if enough Christian’s get involved Pepsi Cola will see their mistake and this will help stop the assumption that Christians just stand by and don’t stand up for what they believe in.

Think about this next time you want a soda!!!

I am a strong supporter of God’s Pit Crew, a local organization right here in Danville, Virginia, that goes into areas devastated by various disasters all over the U.S; taking food, supplies, many tools and volunteers to cut down trees off of houses, rebuild homes and churches and anything else they can do to help with no charge to the recipients. Pepsi has been a real blessing to the crew since it’s inception, supplying drinks to the volunteers as they tirelessly work in the hot sun, etc.

I just learned that Pepsi has refused to give anymore support to the organization unless they remove the word God from their name. Of course, this is not going to happen, as it was God who brought this organization into being, and God who continues to work many miracles through its efforts.

It looks like Coke is going to step right in as a new supporter. They are waiting to hear from the top officials, but the company is already lending its support. I understand the President of Coke is a Christian, and Coke purchased an airplane for Samaritan’s Purse.

All I am asking you to do is pray for God’s Pit Crew and also pray for those in control of the Pepsi Corporation that they would come to know the God we know. Let your heart be your guide as far as using Pepsi products. I know Pepsi is a huge company and own’s many other companies as well. Please forward this to all your e-mail buddies. Thanks.

God is able !!!


Origins:   In May 2009, a PepsiCo distribution center in Wytheville, Virginia, abruptly ended its sponsorship of God’s Pit Crew, a faith-based nonprofit disaster relief group. This crisis response team, which was founded in 1999 and is based in Danville, Virginia, has since its inception responded to 37 major disasters in 17 states, including providing assistance and supplies in the wake of August 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and September 2008’s Hurricane Ike. The organization describes its disaster relief efforts thusly:

Delivered and helped to distribute over 4 million pounds of supplies in disaster areas.

Our volunteers have cut thousands of trees off of peoples homes, gutted out houses, patched roofs, worked feeding kitchens that feed as many as 10,000 people a day a hot meal, they have prayed with people and gave them hope in their time of need.

We have helped our own community, by giving more than six hundred thousand pounds of food and supplies to needy people, we helped the elderly with home repairs, helped to rebuild a flood damaged church, gave away over eighty thousand pounds of new baby supplies to crisis pregnancy centers in our area, and gave the Salvation Army in Danville more than sixty thousand pounds of toys and candy over the past two years to be given to needy children in this area. A few of years ago we supplied generators, ice and bottled water to people in Pittsylvania County after storm damage from a Hurricane that hit the coast of Virginia. When a Tornado crossed Riverside drive and up thru Forest Hills our people went in to help.

The Wytheville Pepsi distribution center had in the past donated upwards of 18 tractor trailer loads of Gatorade to this disaster relief effort team, but in May 2009 it suddenly ended its relationship with God’s Pit Crew for reasons that remain murky. According to WSET-TV in Lynchburg, the change came about because the distribution center had “policies surrounding giving to a specific religious organization” which applied because God’s Pit Crew “does give to churches.” Officials at the distribution center were reported as saying they were “reviewing their policies” and “would try to resume donations to the crew as soon as they can.”

In a followup the next day, WSET reported that within an hour of its airing the story, it was informed by Gatorade officials that the company’s donations to God’s Pit Crew would resume, but Gatorade provided no explanation for its original termination of the agreement other than to say that “religion played no factor in the decision”:

ABC 13 News reported local charity group God’s Pit Crew had a donation deal terminated with the Wytheville PepsiCo Distribution Center. We were told the reason is because the charity uses the word “God” in its name. Less than an hour after our story aired, we’re told the deal is back on.

A Senior Gatorade official from their corporate headquarters phoned to update us on the situation. Gatorade corporate spokeswoman Jennifer Schmidt tells us religion played no factor in the decision to terminate the deal. She would not elaborate on any other reasons for the termination, but stressed those donations are going to resume.

PepsiCo representatives did not respond to our inquiries seeking additional information on this issue.

Last updated:   13 June 2009


    Codispoti, Amanda.   “Local Firms Gather Aid for Soggy Fargo.”

    The Roanoke Times.   2 April 2009.

    Elzey, Susan.   “Volunteers Revive YWCA.”

    Richmond Times Dispatch.   11 April 2009   (p. B7).

    Singh, Ashley.   “Pepsi Stops Donations to God’s Pit Crew Because of Name.”

    WSET-TV [Lynchburg, VA].   29 May 2009.

    Singh, Ashley.   “Following Report, Pepsi Renews Deal.”

    WSET-TV [Lynchburg, VA].   30 May 2009.