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Hurricane Katrina: After the Storm

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: June 16, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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So far, according to Gordon Miller, executive director of the NCA, the initiative has raised just less than $1 million for the spa and salon industries affected by Hurricane Katrina, the majority of which came from individual donations. Brocato explains that, due to the charity scandals in the wake of the disaster, people initially were having a difficult time believing that all the money was going to the affected individuals.

“Every single penny goes back to the professionals in the area,” Miller explains. “When we mail people a check, NCA takes the price of postage out of its own funds—we don’t take it out of the donations.” Despite major funding concerns about other charitable organizations, as well as the national government, Miller reports that people have been pleasantly surprised to see that their own industry has been the most reliable and the most helpful during their time of need. “We gave people emotional strength and encouragement to stay in this industry after the storm,” he says.

The NCA’s efforts continue. “We still have a fair amount of people needing aid. The biggest issue is that we don’t have enough funding, and that kind of stops things in their tracks. We need more money,” emphasizes Brocato.

When the organization believes that it has done all it can do to help with the Katrina recovery effort, it wants to extend the fundraising to filter into a natural disaster fund. “Those things happen all the time, and there is nothing for the victims,” explains Miller.

Although it can be difficult to believe that any good can come out of such a disaster, Miller personally feels fortunate for having worked at the NCA. “At the NCA office, we talk with every single person who has applied for funds—more than 800. It helped change the way I look at life. It makes me value the things I have more, and appreciate the friendships and family that I have. That has been a gift. It also keeps me motivated to continue doing this work and to do other work in my personal life. I’m a little more conscious about doing something for the homeless guy down the street than I was before.”

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