The National Automobile Dealers Association has raised nearly $3.4 million to help dealership employees affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The Emergency Relief Fund of NADA's Charitable Foundation gave financial aid to about 6,100 employees in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. Payments ranged from $100 to $1,500, depending on the employee's losses.
"It was just a contribution to help (employees) get back on their feet," Bruce Kelleher, the foundation's assistant treasurer, told Automotive News.
NADA contributed $1 million to the fund. State and regional dealer associations, dealers and their employees also donated.
Kelleher says the fund has helped about 5,400 employees whose homes were damaged by Katrina. The hurricane struck the Gulf Coast in August.
About 715 employees affected by Rita also got payments, Kelleher says. The storm hit southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana in September.
Recipients got aid in the form of a bank debit card or a check. They completed forms that told NADA about the damage they had suffered.
A video on the association's Web site, nada.org, shows Chairman Jack Kain and President Phil Brady visiting dealerships whose employees received money from the relief fund.
Liz Blouin, who works in the accounting department of Toyota of New Orleans, got a debit card after Katrina wrecked her home in Slidell, La.
"I was able to go get a few things that I did need, like clothes," Blouin says on the video.
NADA started the fund in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew damaged large parts of south Florida.
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