NEW ORLEANS, LA — In the devastating wake of Hurricane Katrina, numerous trade organizations have extended a helping hand to those affected both inside and outside the kitchen and bath industry.
“The NAHB and its state and local associations are working as quickly as possible to get these builders back on their feet so they can begin rebuilding in their communities,” said David Wilson, president of the Washington, DC-based National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). He added that some 9,000 NAHB builder-members are currently displaced, or have lost their homes or businesses.
Similarly, the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group is heeding the call for some of it’s own after the financial arm of the BKBG needed to be relocated due to severe flooding. It was which was located above Cameron Kitchen & Bath Designs in New Orleans.
Thompson Price, CKD, CBD, and v.p./membership for the BKBG, explained: “We got everything out that we needed, and we relocated everything to Houston, where we set up housing and a six-month lease on an apartment [for Bath & Kitchen Buying Group CFO and Cameron Kitchen & Bath Designs’ owner Jerry Johnson, as well as four other Cameron employees].”
Eddie Schukar, v.p./vendor relations and development for BKBG, added: “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a more profound outpouring of concern. Members and vendors of both buying groups have been incredibly concerned and gracious – from donating money or rooms, to the use of their cars and condominiums.”
He continued: “We’ve seen a level of concern and compassion that is a beautiful reflection on our industry as a whole.”
BKBG has also organized a relief fund for those affected by the natural disaster, Price added. “Today, we have close to $30,000 in contributions that people have sent. That’s going to help with housing for displaced people and any of our members or vendors who need assistance,” he noted.
Donations, made payable to BGS/Relief Fund, can be sent to the BKBG’s office at 5322 West Bellfort, Suite 215, Houston, TX 77035.
In addition, for the next six months, through March 14, 2006, BKBG Vendor Craft-Art, a wood countertop supplier, said it will donate 5% of the list price for every top purchased by a BKBG member to the BKBG Katrina Disaster Relief Fund.
Numerous other industry groups are pledging assistance toward relief efforts, including:
- The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has pledged a $25,000 donation to the American Red Cross to assist in the relief efforts in New Orleans and other Gulf state areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
“We’re also reaching out to ask our employees, as well as individual and member companies and their employees, to reach deep into their hearts and donate what they can in the face of this unprecedented natural disaster, as we come together as a nation with aid and prayer to help those in need,” said NKBA CEO Michael Kelly.
Kelly said the national office of the NKBA is also in the process of formulating a “Member to Member Relief Effort” to directly assist members affected by the tragedy.
“There are a lot of displaced members who will need assistance or to keep busy over the next four to six months,” Kelly observed. “Chapters and NKBA members in other states could offer work assignments to those left temporarily unemployed.
“Now is the time for our membership to pull together and show the real power of community.”
- The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) is participating in an industry coalition to assist in relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and in the event of future disasters.
- Through the National Housing Endowment, the NAHB has set up a fund for home builders’ associations to offer aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.
“Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and NAHB is again poised to respond as an industry to contribute to the massive relief effort,” said NAHB President David Wilson. “We’re both saddened and humbled by the enormity of this disaster and its toll on life, property and way of life for the residents of the hardest-hit areas.”
Donations should be earmarked for the “Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund” and sent to: National Housing Endowment, Attn: Troy Patterson, 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. For additional information, call Kathy O’Kane, NAHB assistant staff v.p./leadership support and operations, at 800-368-5242 (ext. 8295).
- The Reston, VA-based Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) will be making a major donation to Habitat for Humanity from the revenues from its recent management conference, said KCMA president Dick Titus.
“We will certainly be there to assist and expedite things as constructively as possible,” Titus concluded.