Editorial: Industry Responds To Katrina Disaster

A bit under six weeks ago, I was at IFT in New Orleans, held at the very Convention Center where we're now hearing allegations of beatings, shootings and even rape in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

As this tragedy continues to unfold, first of all, our sympathies and condolences go out to those affected.

It's usually under the most adverse conditions that stories of human strength and as important, commitment, come to the fore, whether on a personal or corporate level. And while these citizen's and groups are active on an ongoing basis, and their philanthropy is widely appreciated, it's at times such as these that they dig even deeper
to support those in crisis.

As they did during the Asian tsunami, Vitamin Angel Alliance immediately swung into action. Within 12 hours, the not-for-profit that is actively involved around the world in delivering vitamins and nutritional supplies to those in need, was responding to offers of help from industry companies willing to donate vitamins, and actively organizing staging areas and vitamin relief shipments.

What inspires me is how quickly this group operates on an ongoing and seemingly tireless pace, and how consistently they get assistance and product from a core group of industry leaders.

There are other groups in our industry who have also swung into action. For instance the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) has created the NNFA Retailer Relief Fund to help NNFA member retailers who sustained damage due to the hurricane and many companies are contributing to various relief efforts, which cover everything from vitamins to support for pets.

As a communication vehicle, media plays an important role in supporting these activities. From the initial call to action, to providing ongoing status reports, to highlighting those that contribute and support, we help by acknowledging and communicating first need, and secondly those that support. We realize that some contributors would rather be anonymous, and few really think about acknowledgement, but in this cynical age where all too often we focus on or hear the negative or skeptical side, it's nice to be able to acknowledge and commend.

So the need is there, for
1. Adult multiples
2. Children's chewables and
3. Financial contributions

If you would like to contribute, get in touch with Vitamin Angel and Howard Schiffer.(www.vitaminangel.org). Kudos to Nutri-Force Nutrition, NOW Foods and Pharmachem Laboratories and others who are helping and so frequently do.

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