For the past two weeks, we have been watching the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused in the Gulf Coast. People lost their homes, jobs and, most important, family members. Money and support has been pouring in from all over the world to help these people, and our industry is no different. Within the last two weeks, associations, growers, manufacturers, breeders, etc. have been offering all they can to help the people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Last week we worked hard to find as much information as we could on the industry members who have lent more than a hand to help. Even after finding a number of organizations, we still haven’t even scratched the surface of the generosity that is being extended to the people in need. Listed below are some of the industry’s efforts to help those affected by Katrina.
If you are looking for ways to help but are not sure where to turn, visit some of the Web sites below. They can help you lend support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
SNA Industry Disaster Support Program
The Southern Nursery Association (SNA) will be assessing the industry needs in the hours and days ahead. In preparation for the expected needs, the association has established the SNA Industry Disaster Support Program designed to respond to such needs. While the majority of this effort is expected to be in the form of loaned equipment (generators, pumps, chain saws, etc.) and labor (donated crews) to help get nurseries back up and running, thereby saving plant inventories, other support through monetary contributions is also needed to purchase supplies.
On the SNA Web site (http://www.sna.org ) there is a form you can fill out to indicate any areas where you and your business can be involved. For any questions contact the SNA office at (770) 953-3311.
The Society of American Florists
The Society of American Florists (SAF) is assessing short- and long-term opportunities for interested industry members to help, either through financial contributions or flower donations.
SAF is keeping a list of industry members who call their office willing to help. SAF will contact those people if and when the need for assistance in specific areas arises. In the meantime, SAF has posted contact information for key national organizations through which those wanting to can provide financial support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Web site http://www.safnow.org/katrinaindustryresponse.htm  lists a number of floral organizations to which you can donate, as well as job postings for hurricane victims who are in need. The site also offers contact information for the relief agencies working in the affected states.
SAF is updating the Web site regularly, so please keep checking it for up-to-date information on how you can help. SAF has also set up a E-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org  if people wanting to share news or help.
PLANET’s Emergency Disaster Support Program
The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) emergency disaster support program will be developing as the needs of the green industry becomes clearer. PLANET’s Web site ( http://www.landcarenetwork.org ) lists the following ways people can help support the victims of Katrina.
- PLANET is asking people to consider giving financial support to the victims.
- Temporary jobs can also be provided to people from the Gulf States area who are temporarily unemployed. (Members can post the listings on the PLANET Web site, and nonmembers can send an E-mail to email@example.com .)
- People can make member-to-member donations of any labor or equipment, and it will be loaned to those in the crisis area.
- The association is offering information to green industry members who live in declared disaster areas, as well as homeowners and renters who have been affected.
- Finally, to directly assist its members in their time of need, PLANET will be offering complimentary membership renewals for companies in the crisis area for the 2005-2006 time period. Please contact the PLANET offices at (800) 395-2522 to renew your membership.
Many companies, associations and manufacturers have been generous enough to donate sums of money to help in the relief efforts. We know there are many of you out there, and this industry is very thankful for what you have done. Below are a few of the companies we were able to identify that have helped with the hurricane relief efforts.
OFA. GPN spoke with Doug Cole, president of OFA and owner of D.S. Cole Growers, Loudon, N.H., about the support OFA has given.
“At OFA we have decided to donate all of our proceeds and more from our involvement with the SNA event this summer. Rather than start an effort of our own, we are providing $7,000 to the SNA efforts. When John Holmes (our executive director) came up with this idea to provide funds to SNA, the response from the OFA board was unanimous in granting him the permission to make it happen. We are listening for the current status of the growers in the storm’s path. It is hard to second-guess what each affected grower needs. For some, the most important need is simply fuel, while others have lost almost everything.”
OFA also sent an E-mail stating, “We are forgoing our 2005 partnership proceeds (approximately $7,000) and donating them to the SNA relief effort. As we learn more about the equipment, labor, food, water and financial needs, OFA will likely increase this commitment.”
The Dow Chemical Company.Dow has announced it will contribute $3 million to the hurricane relief efforts. The donation will consist of:
- $1 million in an immediate cash donation to the American Red Cross.
- $1 million match of employee and retiree donations to the American Red Cross. The more than 1,100 Indianapolis-based employees of Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical, will have the opportunity to contribute.
- $1 million in products and technology donations for the longer term reconstruction effort.
Additionally, retirees and employees are being asked to donate blood to replenish supplies lost in the region and to give their time assisting their local relief agencies when they ask for volunteers.
Hines Horticulture During the month of September, Hines Horticulture will donate a portion of all total product sales to the American Red Cross to assist in the recovery of the families and communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
In addition, Hines organized a corporate-wide donation drive on Friday, September 9 for all employees to donate non-perishable goods to help the victims of the storm. All donations will go to the Houston Food Bank, a non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, that is working in conjunction with the American Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
There are many people, companies, associations, etc. in this industry that are helping the people in the Gulf States right now. The organizations mentioned above are just a few of them. If you know of any additional industry relief efforts, please E-mail the details us at firstname.lastname@example.org . The more support we can get for the victims of the hurricane, the better care they will get in this time of devastation.