JASPER, IN /PRNewswire/ - Kimball Office recently announced the eight recipients of its Smart Actions Campaign in New Orleans for new office furniture. The recipients include four for-profit businesses and four nonprofit organizations, all working to rebuild their lives and communities post-Katrina. Together, they represent a cross culture of what makes New Orleans unique and inspiring.
Kimball Office formally introduced the recipients and unveiled the new furnishings during an event in late February.
"We viewed this campaign as an opportunity for Kimball Office to give back," explains Jeff Fenwick, vice president/general manager, Kimball Office. "But it is also an opportunity to bring national attention to the needs that still exist in New Orleans. We must focus on rebuilding the businesses, because without businesses, there are no jobs. And, jobs are everything for a city like New Orleans trying to re-grow its population. It is up to each of us to do what we can."
"When we began this campaign, we hadn't prepared ourselves for the stark reality that so many would still need so much," adds Fenwick. "Almost half of the 56 applicants are still in temporary office space or temporary housing. So much in New Orleans is still unfinished. Kimball Office is proud to support and reward eight organizations with new office furnishings in recognition of their efforts to rebuild."
- Dash Lumber: Third generation family business that stayed and rebuilt stronger than before.
- Forstall Art Supplies: Small art supplies store since 1976. They reopened four months after Hurricane Katrina flooded both of their stores, destroying everything.
- Big Chief Alfred Doucette: New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian, entertainer, craftsman and entrepreneur — representing the heart and soul of New Orleans.
- Mat & Naddie's Restaurant and Michael's Catering: After nine months of restoration work from Hurricane Katrina damage, they reopened in May 2006 for dining.
- Young Aspirations/Young Artists: Empowering artistically talented inner-city youth.
- Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans: Providing housing and a "second family" for in-need youth through college.
- Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans: Providing home ownership and rebuilding services.
- Dress for Success: Promoting career development for disadvantaged women.
In learning of their selection, some recipients spoke of their excitement and what new office furniture means to them.
"What Kimball Office's donation means, well, there is a lot to be said for the intangible, the self-esteem to be able to provide something new," notes Cory Howat, executive director of Boys Hope Girls Hope of New Orleans. "Never in a million years could I have imagined the generosity of people. Who, two-and-a-half years later, thinks about how literally we don't have furniture or have money to buy furniture?"
"Sometimes we get news on grants, and it means a certain program can go on. But with this, it also means I can go to the staff and say 'guess what, you know that back ache you have, well no longer!'" says Linda Santi, resource development director for Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans.
Many recipients echoed the sentiment that there is still a long way to go in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
"If you had told me that I would ever be on food stamps or receiving unemployment, I would not have believed you. New Orleans is coming back, but slowly. We're really still getting over the storm and trying to turn things around," said Paul Forstall, owner of Forstall Art Supplies.
"We really appreciate Kimball Office reaching out. The rest of the nation doesn't know the battles we're still fighting," says Big Chief Alfred Doucette's manager Anne Sanders.
About Kimball Office
The recognized leader in fine office furnishings, Kimball Office has been building its reputation on quality and integrity of design for more than 30 years. Based in Jasper, IN, the company is a business unit of Kimball International Inc., a corporation that provides a vast array of products from its two business segments: Furniture and Cabinets, and Electronic Contract Assemblies. To learn more, visit www.kimballoffice.com.
Source: Kimball Office
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