Reports of relief efforts by the recreational vehicle community continue to surface in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Anne Pierson, whose family owns Shiloh Resorts in northern Louisiana, was on the periphery of the storm, but found herself working the front line with regard to offering assistance to RVers who were forced to evacuate their homes.
“Today (Sept. 1 ) was very sad at our park,” she said in an e-mail. “We have had half a dozen families leave to go closer to home, but they won’t get very far south, as the National Guard is not letting anyone go south of Hammond on I-55.
“One couple at our park lost a son who was to begin the fall semester at Tulane University in New Orleans. Others are still consulting blogs and making fruitless attempts on cell phones to reach family members they haven’t seen since before the hurricane.”
In addition, Pierson and her husband, Bob, are working through two organizations they helped found – the Circle of Trust (COT) and Happy Camper Club – to support the nationwide relief efforts.
“We have opened an online store and are receiving donations from COT members to sell at the store,” she said, noting the website is at www.rvnewsdaily.com. ”All proceeds will go directly to RV families staying in northern Louisiana and Mississippi to help them survive until they get home, and to help the park owners continue to help them, as they are now doing.”
Pierson reported contributions from several people and organizations, including RV Education 101, RV Fun and Games, Mountain Moms, Fulltiming America and RV Living. She said several media outlets are also assisting in getting the word out.
Other relief efforts by RV-related companies include:
• National dealership network FreedomRoads LLC is mobilizing its 57 retail stores as drop-off points for donated clothing earmarked for the victims of Katrina.
As part of its Miracle Miles charity program, the Chicago area-based company will consolidate the clothing and turn it over to various agencies tasked with providing aid and relief to those in need. In addition to donations from the company’s 2,700 associates, the drop-off points are open to the general public. The company is accepting clothing for all ages from infants to adults.
• Bank of America donated $1 million to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina throughout the Gulf Coast region. The financial institution, which provides services to the recreational vehicle industry, also activated several relief programs to assist customers struggling in the storm’s aftermath.
As part of the donation, Bank of America will deliver immediately $500,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank via the Gulf Coast United Way Katrina Relief Fund to feed 23,000 evacuees currently housed at the Houston Astrodome.
• Camping World reported that its accessories store in Hammond, La., along with Gold Medal Dealer partner Dixie RV Superstore, survived the storm and the facility is currently operating on generator power. Camping World was receiving two trucks of hurricane-related supplies to help restock the store. Additionally, Camping World has worked with all of its sister companies affiliated with parent Affinity Group Inc. to fund the donation of nearly $70,000 worth of sleeping bags, tents, t-shirts, hats and other relevant items.