By SEMA Editors
The Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF) has entered phase two of urgent response to aftermarket families in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, and deadly wildfires, and is now watching tropical storm Ophelia.
This season has already produced five major hurricanes, including three catastrophic Category 5 storms, and 15 named storms. According to the Miami Herald, Ophelia could become the 10th consecutive storm to reach hurricane strength.
“Applications for help have increased 78% in the wake of recent natural disasters,” said AACF President Bob Hirsch. “We continue working with SEMA, the Auto Care Association, AASA and others to reach aftermarket families in need, and early estimates indicate there may be hundreds of families that need our help. Parts of Texas, Louisiana and Florida, as well as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, have suffered catastrophic damage.”
“You saved me in more ways than you could ever imagine,” wrote one Texas resident following hurricane Harvey. “(After) 35 years of being a mechanic, your foundation was the only one that helped my family. I am forever grateful for all your help.”
“I can't explain how grateful we are for your quick response to our situation,” another hurricane Harvey victim wrote. “You really have no idea how much this means to us.”
“Thanks to the generous response of our industry, we've raised a significant amount toward our goal, and we’re so thankful for that,” said Joel Ayres, executive director of AACF. “Still, we continue to ask for industry support. Many have lost homes, businesses, vehicles, belongings, and in some cases, loved ones, including family pets. Now more than ever, every donation counts and is truly making a difference.”
Those in need are asked to complete the new, simple application on the AACF website.
Organizations that have already contributed generously include SEMA, Auto Care Association, MEMA, XL Parts, National Pronto/Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group), CAWA, Mighty Auto Parts, Custom Automotive Network (formerly PWA), Engine Performance Warehouse, The Shop, Standard Motor Products, Race Winning Brands (RWB), Gold Eagle, NAPA, Donald Schlenger, Robert & Lillian Spar Family Trust and more.
“On behalf of our team, our thoughts and prayers are with all those who continue to suffer,” said Ayres.
AACF will provide additional updates on this initiative as they become available.