Help Printers in Hurricanes’ Path

NEW ORLEANS—As the Gulf Coast continues to rebuild in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the printing industry—like much of the country—is doing whatever it can to ease the hardships experienced by the displaced citizens.

For example, Xerox has pledged $2 million in cash and technical assistance. During PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05, Böwe Bell + Howell and Komori Corp., among others, announced donations and employee matching funds for relief groups such as the American Red Cross. The Graphic Arts Show Co. also sought charitable contributions from show attendees.

According to Ed Chalifoux, president of the Printing Industry Association of the South (PIAS)—which covers (among other states) Louisiana and Mississippi—approximately 130 printing companies reside in the affected areas, of which 40 member companies are based in New Orleans.

At press time, 10 to 15 of those printers have power and capability to print, but their reliance on local printing jobs have left them lacking for sales. West side printers escaped with mainly wind damage, Chalifoux notes.

The PIAS is creating a special relief fund to help victims of the hurricane. Checks can be made out to the PIAS Disaster Relief Fund and mailed to PIAS, P.O. Box 290249, Nashville, TN 37229.

Thus far, the PIAS has placed 20 workers with other printing companies, many of which presumably will remain with their new employers on a full-time basis.

The PIAS has received an outpouring of support from printers offering to donate equipment, press time and money. Chalifoux estimates that between $15,000 and $20,000 has been raised. The PIAS has created a database of displaced printers and their employees, and that money will be divided up among those Gulf Coast refugees.

The PIAS can be reached at (615) 366-1094.

Press manufacturer KBA North America is also offering assistance to those printers displaced by the hurricane by creating a network of printers across the country willing to assist with print jobs.

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