The promotional products industry’s hearts go out to those affected by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday. And the Promotional Products Disaster Recovery Foundation’s (PPDRF) Business Recovery Fund stands ready to provide assistance to those industry companies that may have suffered loss or damage in the storm.
Teresa Moisant, MAS, president of Oklahoma City distributor Moisant Promotional Products (UPIC: MOISANT1), was at her office when it hit, a mile and a half north of the tornado’s path, and spent its run in a shelter with her staff. She says: “It’s probably the worst tornado I have ever seen, and I have lived here a long time. The areas are just more populated now [so the damage is worse]. We are fine, there’s no power in some places and we have no water in our office.”
Bobby Lehew, CAS, chief branding officer and CEO of Oklahoma City-based distributor ROBYN (UPIC: ROBY0001), says, “We weren’t impacted, and all our employees are safe and accounted for. As far as the impact on our community goes, it’s going to be a long recovery for so many families. The Moore community has been hit [by storms] so many times, but the resilience of Oklahomans is a powerful thing. It’s a fantastic community.”
“Business is not running as usual, but we’re okay,” says Jason Jackson, president of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based distributor IPGI: IMAGENation Promotional Group Inc. (UPIC: IMAG0050), which is located in the northern part of the city. One of IPGI’s employees incurred damage to his home and spent the night without electricity or water. “He has arrangements for somewhere else to stay tonight. Fortunately, our offices weren’t affected,” Jackson adds.
Through its Business Recovery Fund (BRF), the PPDRF seeks to help industry companies affected by natural disasters to get back on their feet. The fund can help replace lost equipment and supplies such as computers, cell phones, office supplies, promotional products catalogs and samples, and provide work areas or give other assistance as needed to get a business up and running as soon as possible.
Speaking today at Expo East in Atlantic City, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, says: “We ask of you, keep the people in Moore in your thoughts and prayers. We also have 28 companies in our industry in that one city. We’re reaching out to them at an Association level to learn more about how they’re doing and what they need. We all know the devastation an event like this can cause and how difficult the recovery process can be. Through the Business Recovery Fund and its work, we can be there to support our colleagues in their time of need.”
The PPDRF is asking for donations to ensure the fund is available to all those who need it. Financial contributions can be made online or directed to the Promotional Products Business Recovery Fund, care of PPAI RAC, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. This fund is a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions are tax deductible.
A number of other organizations are working to assist the wider community in Oklahoma. Click here to learn about more opportunities to support those in need.
“The television stations here are collecting items for residents. That’s just how Oklahoma people do it,” says Moisant. “Because of how communication works these days, people’s needs are going to be taken care of immediately. They know how to survive.”
Moisant said people who want to help now should do so through established relief agencies. Because of the debris and property damage, it will be several days before non-emergency volunteers can bring donations into the area.
Lehew adds: “We are trying to get the word out that the financial recovery is such a long process. Donating to the Red Cross is such a small thing, but it can go a long way.”