Charitable Endeavors

While the business of kitchen and bath design can be complex and multifaceted, it remains a universal truth that consumers prefer to patronize companies that care about more than just the bottom line. Dealers, designers and manufacturers that are active in giving back tend to build stronger bonds with their community, and set an example for others.

As such, Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Charitable Endeavors department spotlights companies’ efforts to give back to the community. This month’s Charitable Endeavors looks at a company that’s donating bath fixtures to homeowners impacted by the Oklahoma tornado.

When a 1.3-mile-wide tornado swept through Moore in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area last May, the governor deemed it “one of the most horrific storms and disasters that the state has ever faced.” Indeed, the storm, which was labeled an EF5 (the most powerful category of tornadoes possible), saw 210 mph winds that left 23 dead and nearly 400 injured. Additionally, some 2,400 homes sustained damage, with more than 10,000 people directly impacted by the disaster.

While the story headlines faded quickly, the rebuilding process has been a long-term process involving the charitable involvement of numerous people, companies and organizations. Morrow, GA-based TOTO is one such company.

Moved by the plight of the Oklahoma victims, TOTO is donating bath fixtures to assist more than 2,000 families in Moore, Shawnee and El Reno, OK.

Said Bill Strang, president of operations for the Americas, TOTO USA, “We wanted to help our friends and neighbors in Oklahoma with their long-term recovery process, so we are sending three 40-ft. container trucks laden with our beautiful designs – toilets, faucets, showers and accessories – to help the families in these communities rebuild their homes.”

Of course, in times of disaster, no one company can do it all; rather, it takes a village. To that end, TOTO was assisted in this humanitarian project by partners WinWholesale, Inc., Oklahoma City Winnelson, RoadOne IntermodaLogistics and the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project.

According to Jason Fitzsimmons, v.p./sales, U.S. Sales Division, TOTO USA, “WinWholesale and Oklahoma City Winnelson are providing much needed long-term storage for the three containers that house our products. RoadOne IntermodaLogistics is providing the logistics support for the 900-mile journey from our facilities in Fairburn, GA, to Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project is working with families in the local communities to help them get back on their feet by minimizing gaps in the relief and recovery system.”

Added Jack Johnston, president of WinWholesale, Inc., “WinWholesale and Oklahoma City Winnelson are very pleased to partner with TOTO in providing in-kind bathroom fixture donations to the victims of the horrific tornado that struck central Oklahoma last May. Oklahoma City Winnelson has been part of the community for more than 30 years. Company president Bill Cudd and his team are grateful for the opportunity to help their neighbors rebuild their lives.”

Ken Kellaway, CEO, RoadOne IntermodaLogistics, noted, “We are proud to be part of this important rebuilding effort that is helping fellow Americans in their time of need. As a national company, RoadOne IntermodaLogistics believes in supporting the communities it touches everyday with its intermodal, trucking and logistics solutions.”

TOTO also received local area support from the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project, a collaboration of case management through the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Oklahoma United Methodist Church, as well as other nonprofit organizations, government, non-government, church and civic organizations in partnership with the United Way of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

“Recovery is not a sprint, but rather a marathon, so ongoing resources are needed to provide assistance. This donation provides a much needed resource for families impacted by the recent tornadoes,“ said Kami Kuykendall, senior director of recovery with the American Red Cross, a partnering agency in the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project.

Kuykendall concluded, “The Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project has been working hard for months helping families in all areas affected by the spring storms and is committed to assisting clients with resources to meet their disaster-related needs.”