International Housewares Association and Fern Expo Lend a Hand to Help Hurricane Florence Victims
Never say the trade show industry isn’t comprised of plenty of generous, kind-hearted people who are ready to lend a hand to those in need, especially in the face of natural disasters.
Case in point, the International Housewares Association and Fern Expo, both of which recently launched relief campaigns to assist the victims of Hurricane Florence and the resulting record flooding that has devastated parts of North and South Carolina’s coastal communities.
To help provide hurricane victims with home products as they rebuild their lives and homes, IHA is partnering with Good360, an Alexandria, Va.-based organization that helps companies responsibly donate inventory to charitable organizations.
“We’re pleased to partner with Good360 and leverage the generosity of the housewares industry to help make a difference for thousands of hurricane victims,” said Phil Brandl, president and CEO of IHA, which produces the annual International Home + Housewares Show.
He continued, “Good360 is an organization with an impeccable track record of distributing needed products in a well-managed and structured way. Their corporate partners in disaster recovery include Walmart, Home Depot, IKEA, CVS and UPS.”
IHA partnered with Good360 last year to help with the Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recovery efforts, he added.
Housewares suppliers can help the recovery effort by donating needed products to Good360, which is working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) to help shelters with immediate needs including personal items, toiletries and water, as well as products to help with the clean-up.
As victims’ needs transition to household goods over the next few weeks, any products IHA members can provide will be managed by Good360, which will deliver donations to those in need in partnership with FEMA, according to IHA officials
Meanwhile, Fern Expo is busy setting up collection sites for hurricane relief materials at most of its Midwest and Southeast locations through Sept. 28, with a goal to send trucks to the Lenoir, Jones and Craven Counties in North Carolina by the end of next week or as soon as vehicles can be safely dispatched to the area.
The general service contractor is calling on all sides of the industry to help those in need, as it did while collecting relief materials after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year, for which it received a tremendous amount of support from communities around the U.S. resulting in the collection of enough materials to send almost a dozen 53-foot trailers.
However, this year, the response has been light so far, according to Aaron Bludworth, CEO of Fern.
“We aren’t quite sure why, though it does seem that the news coverage is much less than it was last year as political news seems to be consuming the airwaves,” Bludworth said. “This is very unfortunate, as the needs are tremendous and in many areas the water continues to rise.”
He added, “We are currently collecting through Monday, but may extend that date if we don’t see a big pick up in contributions.”
The following items can be dropped off Monday through Friday during business hours at Fern’s Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville locations:
- Baby food
- Baby formula
- Blankets (clean and new)
- Bottled water
- Household cleaning items
- Non-perishable food
“We are doing this because we have the assets to be able to help and there is a need,” Bludworth said. “There really is not a good reason to not get involved and help – why wouldn’t we?”