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Hurricane Response

Primary Contact:
Kevin Broom
Director of Media Relations, RVIA
(703) 620-6003 ext. 304

Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) extends its sincere regrets to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We are deeply saddened by the human tragedy that has occurred. We're proud to be playing a part in the tremendous worldwide outpouring of support in aiding ongoing relief efforts in the Gulf region.

The recreation vehicle (RV) industry is focused on relief efforts and is playing a major role by providing temporary housing and related supplies.

Housing for Victims

There is a tremendous need for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide temporary housing for the hurricane victims, as well as for government and relief organization officials trying to operate in the hurricane-devastated areas. RVs ranging from motorhomes to travel trailers, as well as specially build "Emergency Living Units," are meeting this need. Invaluable in times of national emergencies, such vehicles can easily be transported to the affected areas to provide comfortable living quarters on wheels. RVs and Emergency Living Units typically are climate-controlled and equipped with kitchen, dining, living, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

The RV industry is well-positioned to produce and deliver Emergency Living Units quickly and in high volumes. Many manufacturers have increased production at their factories, instituted overtime and hired new workers. The RV industry is eager to meet the needs of FEMA and play a significant role in ongoing relief efforts.

RVIA has provided lists of manufacturers and dealers, along with direct contact information, to FEMA officials. RVIA continues to follow up with FEMA and other government agencies to respond to their needs.

FEMA has purchased existing inventories of RVs from many RV dealers across the country. In addition, RV dealers and manufacturers have entered into contracts with FEMA (or third parties who have such contracts) to deliver and/or build specialized Emergency Living Units. FEMA made similar arrangements with manufacturers and dealers in 2004 to provide Emergency Living Units for Florida's hurricane recovery efforts. Dealerships have set up supply chains and satellite lots to help deliver the vehicles.

A Wide Array of Humanitarian Relief Efforts

A variety of humanitarian relief efforts are also being undertaken by many RV manufacturers, dealers, supplier companies, associations, clubs, campgrounds and individual RVers. Examples include:

The following is a sampling of the RV industry's response to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts (based on responses submitted to RVIA as of November 23, 2005). To submit details or updates about your organization's relief efforts, send an email to RVIA at crobey@rvia.org.

RV Manufacturers

Airstream, Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, is working with local leaders to help organize a community-wide effort to provide personal hygiene items to storm victims. Contributions from Plastipak, Rising Sun, independent drivers, JC Growth Association, churches and individuals will help make possible two shipments from the area to distribution points in the gulf region. Timing will be announced for those wishing to contribute such items. A hotdog cookout was held, the first of several internal events to raise funds. This cookout was helped by food provided by Phil's Market and AVI, and all monies raised will be matched by Airstream and directed to relief efforts through the United Way. Airstream matches, dollar for dollar, all donations made by its associates for local United Way activities, and will match two dollars for every dollar pledged by Airstream associates for storm relief. Contact: Bob Wheeler, bwheeler@airstream.com.

Country Coach, Inc., Junction City, Ore., recently held its 19th Annual Class Reunion Rally at the Lane Events Center in Eugene, Ore. At this event, the Company, along with Country Coach International, and the Country Coach dealers in attendance combined forces to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina Relief and Children's Miracle Network. Rally attendees raised $11,805 for Hurricane Relief to which company President Jay Howard contributed $10,000 on behalf of the Company in matching funds. Dealers in attendance contributed an additional $16,000 to the cause; and the Country Coach Casuals logo store added another $1,000 for an astounding $38,805 raised during this rally to benefit fellow Americans in the Gulf States. $36,175 of the donations will be presented to the American Red Cross and $2,630 will be presented to the Salvation Army to support their relief efforts. The rally's official charity for this event was the Children's Miracle Network, and the rally attendees' generous donations to this cause garnered an additional $5,319 for Children's Miracle Network. Contact: Matt Howard, mhoward@countrycoach.com.

Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc., Goshen, Ind., is committed to assisting the government and those families in the Gulf Coast region who require temporary housing. Dutchmen has increased its production rates by up to 20 percent to help meet Hurricane Relief demands and is committed to working through its dealers to meet the needs of the victims. The company expects to hire up to 250 people between now and the end of the year. RVs being produced range from 30-35 feet in length with basic equipment packages, including, heat, air conditioning, refrigerators, stoves and stereo systems. In addition, Dutchmen Manufacturing has reached out to the suppliers in the RV industry and has asked for their donations to create "care packages" that will be put in each unit shipped to the Gulf Coast region. The care packages include soap, shampoo, towels and additional personal items for the families affected by the hurricane. Contact: Joe Hosinski, Jhosinski@dutchmenmfg.com.

Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc., Riverside, Calif., is assisting FEMA and has ramped up production at all of its plants. The company will fill orders for 7,500 units for FEMA as part of the agency's disaster relief plan. A special link was posted on Fleetwood's website with information on Hurricane Katrina and important links to government agencies. A special toll-free phone number was established for a customer call center to help Hurricane victims locate dealers near the affected areas with RV products in stock. Several Fleetwood plants are collecting food and supplies for disaster victims. Contact: Amy Coleman, amy.coleman@fleetwood.com.

Home and Park Motorhomes, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, is in the process of putting some of its Roadtrek employee demos out on rent to organizations involved with relief efforts. Contact: Paul C., paulc@roadtrek.com.

Jayco, Middlebury, Ind.: The company is ramping up production and adding overtime to provide RVs to FEMA through Jayco's dealers. Several RVs were loaned to Jayco's New Orleans area dealer for family and employees to live in. Jayco is also collecting money from its employees for the Red Cross; Jayco will match employee contributions. The total donation was more than $39,000. Contact: Derald Bontrager, Derald_Bontrager@jayco.com

National RV, Inc., Perris, Calif., is taking up an internal cash collection among its 1,000+ employees for the Katrina relief fund and plans to send the proceeds to the American Red Cross. National RV is matching the amount collected. In addition, a motorhome was packed with more than 80 boxes of supplies collected by St. John's Medical center and was delivered to Spring, Texas to be distributed to local shelters. Contact: Tony Cohen, acohen@nationalrv.com.

RC Willett Co., Inc., Cedar Falls, Iowa, provided an RV to a New Orleans doctor (a former Iowa resident) who lost his house in the flooding. In conjunction with a local Dodge dealer, the company supplied him with a truck camper so he can return and treat victims out of the RV. In addition, the company has started a collection to support his relief efforts. Contact: Rory Willett, rcwillett@forbin.net.

Sportsmobile Texas, Inc., Austin, Texas, made the following cash donations: Salvation Army - $10,000; New York Search and Rescue - $1,000; miscellaneous - $1,000 total donations. Contact: Paul Meyer, texas@sportsmobile.com.

Starcraft RV, Inc., Topeka, Ind., and its employees are responding through an appeal for a sustained Hurricane Katrina Relief Campaign. Each gift received will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Starcraft RV and donated to the relief efforts of the American Red Cross. The company is also assisting FEMA with RV units through its network of dealers. Starcraft RV will alter normal production schedules to build 1,000+ units. Overtime is scheduled, additional workers are being added, and the company's transportation dispatching will stretch its capabilities to rush units to the FEMA staging areas. Contact: Donald Locke, dlocke@starcraftrv.com.

Sunline Coach Company, Denver, Pa., is working directly with FEMA and several retail dealerships to produce 30-foot trailers that will serve as short-term shelter for the victims, relief workers and volunteers. While a specific number has not yet been confirmed, Sunline will manufacture up to 1,000 trailers for FEMA. Depending on the final amount, the company will add anywhere from 5-10 percent more staffing at its production building and work much more overtime to fill the orders as quickly as possible. Many private individuals, as well as numerous businesses in the Lancaster County area, as well as Sunline employees, have banded together to purchase supplies for the hurricane victims. The first units Sunline shipped to Mississippi on September 9 included bottled water, soda, canned food and health and beauty aid supplies. In addition, employees stepped forward and eagerly volunteered to contribute cases of water and other supplies that will be shipped inside every trailer and delivered to Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama. Contact: Brad Showalter, brads@sunlinerv.com; and Dale Zimmerman, dalez@sunlinerv.com.

Thor Industries, Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, is sending its "Drive Against Prostate Cancer" unit to New Orleans to serve as a mobile hospital. Thor is also in discussions with FEMA about building a large number of low-cost, specially equipped trailers and park homes to serve as temporary housing for storm victims. Contact: Bob Wheeler, bwheeler@airstream.com

Tiffin Motorhomes, Red Bay, Ala., collected cash donations for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Through payroll deduction, the employees raised $3,452.30 for the fund and Tiffin Motorhomes matched that contribution with a check for $3,500 for the fund. The grand total was $6952.30. Contact: Tim Howe, tim.howe@tiffinmotorhomes.com.

Winnebago Industries, Forest City, Iowa: The company's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts include sending approximately 30 cases of bottled water with every motorhome shipped to dealers in the affected areas. Winnebago Industries has provided use of a motorhome to be used as a support vehicle by the Iowa Jaycees as they delivered three truckloads of relief supplies. In addition, a Winnebago Industries factory tour bus was provided for a Mercy Hospital medical team to travel to the Gulf Coast region. Winnebago Industries is currently working with a number of companies and agencies on a variety of vehicles for temporary/mobile offices and command centers. The company has also prioritized motorhome production schedules to provide more immediate production of RVs designated for dealers to be used for short-term housing needs. Contact: Kelli Harms, kharms@winnebagoind.com.

RV Industry Supplier Companies

Affinity Group, Inc. (AGI), Ventura, Calif.: As of last week, cash contributions hit the $188,000 mark. In response to the massive disaster, AGI doubled its traditional matching efforts, so that each $1 contributed by an AGI employee resulted in $3 going to the appropriate charitable fund for relief efforts. The unprecedented move resulted in $140,000 in cash contributions coming from AGI and its brands. The Good Sam Club home office inspired the relief efforts by challenging its members to donate to a related charitable organization while promising to present an additional $10,000 to the American Red Cross. Donations from members totaled over $50,000. As promised, the Good Sam Club home office subsequently presented its local Red Cross chapter with a $10,000 check. Also, many Good Sam Club local chapters are raising money at their Fall Samborees. Through its nationwide retailer, Camping World, AGI also contributed more than $70,000 worth of merchandise to hurricane victims in Louisiana. The much-needed tents, sleeping bags and apparel were delivered to local relief efforts in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette-two of the fastest growing cities due to the large number of evacuees being housed in shelters. To promote RV customer donations, Camping World started its holiday charity event early by placing donation boxes in stores two days after the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast. Throughout the months of November and December, Camping World will also be hosting a holiday charity event in each of their stores. During that time, each store will have a Giving Tree on display and customers will be given the opportunity to purchase a paper ornament to hang on the tree for a $1 donation. All proceeds collected will be given to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in support of hurricane victims. Additionally, Camping World will match the dollar amount collected in all stores, and a check will be presented to the American Red Cross. The nationwide retailer also included links to the Red Cross and Salvation Army in its E-Newsletter, as well as on a landing page on its website, to make donating as easy as possible. The Good Sam Club is currently coordinating a temporary housing solution between RVsForHumanity.org and its club members who want to donate trailers or motorhomes for those left homeless by the hurricane. Details of the donation process are being finalized with a target location of Baton Rouge being considered due to the large concentration of evacuees being housed there. AGI is also responding to the call for blood donations by holding employee blood drives at their corporate locations: Ventura, Denver and Bowling Green, Ky. The company is posting all job openings for AGI and Camping World on the U.S. Department of Labor special job site for Hurricane Katrina victims who are looking for employment in new cities due to relocation at www.jobsearch.org/katrinajobs. Contact: Kevin Hobbs, khobbs@affinitygroup.com.

Atwood Mobile Products, Elkhart, Ind.: Dura Automotive Systems, Atwood's parent company, is matching all employee contributions made to the Red Cross. All Atwood manufacturing sites will be working six-day, dual shifts. The company will be adding additional plant personnel to meet the demand and have authorized suppliers to work overtime to supply critical components. Field personnel have been assigned specific accounts working on FEMA units to assure clear communications between companies. Contact: Carl Pfalzgraf, pfalzgraf.c@atwoodmobile.com.

Baker & Daniels, Elkhart, Ind., through individual contributions by members of the firm, contributed more than $200,000 in cash for Katrina relief, in addition to the many contributions made by members of the firm through other organizations. Contact: Kennard R. Weaver, ken.weaver@bakerd.com.

By expediting financing and credit approvals, Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C., is assisting its RV dealer clients across the country in their efforts to fulfill FEMA's request to purchase RVs. For Bank of America retail customers in FEMA-designated disaster areas, 60-day deferrals for RV loans were automatically activated. Bank of America retail customers impacted by the hurricane but outside the FEMA-designated disaster areas can request a 60-day deferral for RV loans by calling (800) 215-6195 or their regular customer service number. Bank of America has implemented several other relief measures for its customers in FEMA-designated disaster areas, such as automatic payment deferrals on mortgages, credit cards and automobile and boat loans. The bank has taken action to assist non-customers as well as customers, such as deploying mobile ATMs and mobile banking centers to serve evacuees in Houston and San Antonio. Bank of America and its associates have contributed approximately $3 million to Hurricane Katrina relief as of Sept. 8. This includes: $1 million from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, including $500,000 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, and $100,000 to Houston Food Bank via Gulf Coast United Way Katrina Relief fund. Just over $1 million from Bank of America associates, which is being matched by the company. In addition, Bank of America has accepted over $700,000 in public donations for the American Red Cross through its network of 5,800 banking centers nationwide or online. Contact: Will Wilson, will.wilson@bankofamerica.com.

Blue Ox Towing Division Pender, Neb. along with two local fifth graders, collected supplies that were shipped by Blue Ox to evacuees staying in RV parks in Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles, La.

Canadian Auto Preservation Inc., Canada, made a $5,000 cash donation to the Red Cross in Ontario. Contact: Randy Peek, randy@capfinalcoat.com.

Caterpillar, Inc., Mossville, Ill., has several initiatives for assisting the Katrina Relief efforts. Its Louisiana and Mississippi dealers were hit hard and many employees are victims. Through its different divisions, Caterpillar provided earthmoving equipment, electric power generators, sent teams of people to the area and matched employee contributions to the relief effort. Contact: Suzie Adcock, adcock_suzie_j@cat.com.

Dana Corporation, Kalamazoo, Mich., made a $50,000 cash contribution to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund to support its humanitarian relief and recovery efforts. Dana will make a second contribution to the American Red Cross by matching employee and retiree donations made to an Internal Revenue Service registered charitable organization supporting the hurricane relief efforts through November 30, 2005. Contact: Bob Goldston, Bob.Goldston@dana.com.

Employees of Dec-o-Art, Inc., Elhkart, Ind., took up a collection in the amount of $2,250, which the company matched. A $4,500 check is going to the American Red Cross. In addition, the company is supplying information labels to Gulf Stream Coach. Contact: Anthony Dosmann, TDosmann@DEC-O-ART.com.

Flojet / ITT Industries, Foothill Ranch, Calif., donated $250,000 in cash to the Red Cross. In addition, ITT Industries' largest pumps are being used to de-water the city of New Orleans. Contact: Dick Lee, Dick.Lee@itt.com.

Airships provided by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Akron, Ohio, are flying above the devastated areas from Hurricane Katrina. Goodyear and FEMA are working together to run the necessary and appropriate messages. Contact: Kris Fettig, kris_fettig@goodyear.com.

H-P Products, Inc. Louisville, Ohio, contributed $10,000 to the Stark County Chapter of the American Red Cross for the victim relief fund. Contact: Jeanette Gmerekjgmerek@hpproducts.net.

Hydro Life Water Filtration Systems, Briston, Ind., is offering several custom-designed water filtration systems at a substantially reduced cost to relief people and organizations through FEMA via the SWERN.gov (SouthWest Emergency Response Network) link on FEMA's web site. Contact: Jon Grove, jong@hydrolife.com.

ITW TACC, Mishawaka, Ind. As one of more than 600 companies operated by ITW (Illinois Tool Work) worldwide, TACC is participating in a company-sponsored drive to collect cash and needed supplies. The ITW Foundation has committed an initial cash donation to the Red Cross of $250,000 and is offering a 3-to-1 match for all 60,000+ employees to their personal cash contributions. Contact: Mike Dincolo, mdincolo@itwtacc.com.

KVH Industries, Inc., Middletown, R.I., raised an estimated $15,000 in cash donations - a result of combined donations from KVH Industries Inc., KVH employees in the U.S. and overseas, as well as a company-matched donation of the employee contributions, and the winning proceeds from the upcoming annual KVH Golf Tournament. The money raised is intended for the American Red Cross in an effort to bring the most immediate and effective relief to the devastated area. Reportedly, eleven KVH dealers in the Alabama and Mississippi area have been severely damaged or destroyed as a result of this terrible event. KVH is working closely with its dealers and distributors and has made arrangements with regard to their individual circumstances, including the deferral of accounts receivable. Contact: Kathleen Hilton, khilton@kvh.com.

To raise money for the victims of hurricane Katrina, Merrick Bank, Draper, Utah, is holding the following fundraisers: 1) Employees may purchase a dress-down-week for the last two weeks of September. Both weeks must be purchased together at a cost of $15. 2) Merrick is raffling a day off. Tickets cost $5 each. 3) Merrick plans to match the money raised by employees (twice) and give it to the hurricane victims that have been relocated to Utah. 4) Merrick's donation matching policy provides that Merrick will match $50 for each qualified donation per employee per year. Contact: Chanin Christensen, chanin.christensen@merrickbank.com.

In cooperation with one of its insurance partners, Recfin, Nixa, Mo., is giving $5 for each contract booked within the next 90 days. The partner is matching those funds and the gross receipts will be split equally between the American Red Cross and Salvation Army earmarked for Katrina relief efforts. In addition, Recfin has enlisted the assistance of its dealer base to give $5 of every deal funded through Recfin over the next 90 days. Recfin will match these donations and the gross receipts will be split equally between the American Red Cross and Salvation Army earmarked for Katrina relief efforts. Contact: Marvin L. Long, marvin@recfin.com.

Spartan Chassis, Charlotte, Mich., is making a cash donation to the American Red Cross and matching individual contributions made by associates to provide a total cash contribution. Contact: Richard Schalter, RJSchalt@spartanmotors.com.

Star Shield Armor, Irwindale, Calif., donated its Monaco motorhome to Seventh Day Slumber (a top Christian band) to go down to the Gulf Coast. These concerts have been very successful in bringing hope to the survivors. Seventh Day Slumber has cleared its touring schedule for the next two months in order to tour many shelters across America. Contact: Steve Costa, steve@starshieldarmor.com.

Statistical Surveys, Grand Rapids, Mich., donated dealer name and address files so that FEMA could find available inventory to provide housing for hurricane victims. Contact: Aarn D. Rosen, arosen@statisticalsurveys.com.

Workhorse Custom Chassis, Union City, Ind., is helping relief efforts by collecting and matching employee donations. A total cash donation of $6,340 was given for hurricane victims. In addition, the company donated two motorhomes and a walk-in truck to the Hoosier Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross. Workhorse also loaned an employee a motorhome filled with water and food so he and three other Workhorse employees could help with cleanup efforts. Dan O'Connell, director of national accounts, and Mark Brower, national service representative, drove another Workhorse motorhome filled with 6,000 pounds of food and water to Gulfport, Miss., where they helped the local FedEx office retun to business. Contact: David Schreiber, dschreiber@taigmarks.com.

RV Associations and Clubs

Airstream RV Association, Jackson Center, Ohio, donated $2,260 to the New Orleans Baptist Seminary for hurricane relief. Region 6 of the association donated $4,000 worth of food for Food Net. The Tampa Bay, Florida Unit of Region 31 donated $200 to benefit hurricane relief efforts. The Texas Unit of Region 9 donated $300 to the Red Cross. Contact: (937) 596-5211.

Escapees RV Club opened two of its parks (Summerdale, Ala., and National Headquarters in Livingston, Texas) to survivors and relief volunteers. They have offered free hook-ups for a month. Escapees also maintained a list of members who have rooms at their home bases to take in RVers, and several also offered RVs. At least one family is living in a member's RV now at the Livingston park. Another couple at Livingston lost everything, but thanks to members' donations, they now have all they need! Employees have been hauling donated supplies to shelters in Louisiana. Other member volunteers have been assisting at other shelters in Houston. In addition, DOVEs (Disaster Operation Volunteer Escapees) Red Cross-trained volunteers immediately mobilized to assist with relief efforts. Contact: Cathie Carr, egbok@escapees.com.

Family Campers & RVers, Depew, N.Y., has established a hurricane relief fund to be managed by the organization's Louisiana State Director with assistance from the Mississippi and Texas State Directors. With members and chapters in the hurricane areas, many members have responded by making donations through churches, Red Cross, etc., in their home region. Some members responded directly to people affected by providing food, ice and other items. Contact: Eldon Sellers, ED23SELLER@aol.com.

The Board of Directors of the Florida RV Trade Association, Riverview, Fla., voted to send $30,000 in cash donations for relief efforts. $15,000 will be sent to the Salvation Army and $15,000 will be sent to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Region 4 (Orlando) voted to send an additional $10,000 from their own treasury. Contact: Dave Kelly, davekelly@frvta.org.

The Good Sam Club, Ventura, Calif., challenged members on its website to donate to charitable organizations involved with relief efforts. Members stepped up to this challenge and have donated $50,000. The Good Sam Club also presented a $10,000 check to its local Red Cross. Here are some humanitarian activities being undertaken by local Good Sam clubs:

Contact: Rebecca Zuniga, rzuniga@affinitygroup.com.

Gulf Streamers International RV Club, Nappanee, Ind., is holding raffles at all chapter and International rallies and taking donation from members to assist members in the states affected by Hurricane Katrina & Rita. Contact: Bonnie Cooper, bcooper@gulfstreamcoach.com.

Montana Manufactured Housing and RV Dealers Association, Helena, Mont., voted to donate $5,000 in cash to the Red Cross. In addition, individual Montana RV dealers are committing to providing RV products and other assistance to help those in need. Contact: Stuart Doggett, stuart@montana.com.

The National African American RVers Association, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., established the Katrina Area Relief (KAR) Fund to which members are making monetary donations. At least six families, who are members of the Big Easy Rollers Club, have lost homes in New Orleans. NAARVA is currently trying to identify members whose small towns are not easily located on the map, to determine if any of them were in the path of the hurricane. Others sustaining damage to their homes live in Mississippi, in and near Pass Christian. Others who are members of the Louisiana Gators chapter live in Slidell and Pearl River, La. They sustained wind damage to homes and lots of trees down on their properties. The KAR Fund will be open for donations until the end of October, and longer if deemed necessary. NAARVA expects to split the money among those who lost homes, when they are able to return to their respective cities, and when they are able to inform NAARVA what their plans are for restoration or relocation. Contact: Anne B.

Category: RVIA

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