Publisher's Statement - January 2019
In the aftermath and devastation of the recent California fires, those affected in the industry are slowly rising from the ashes with the help of the aftermarket community.
“AACF is working hard to get checks mailed to qualified applicants within three days,” said Joel Ayers, executive director of the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF), in a statement released shortly after the Camp Fire was announced 100 percent contained.
He called the applications for aid “heartbreaking,” and that they increased 90 percent in November.
The fire destroyed 13,972 residences, 528 commercial structures and 4,293 other buildings, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties destroyed 1,500 structures and damaged 341 others.
Among them are numerous businesses belonging to the aftermarket community, those who worked in them and the many families that depended on them.
Bart Riebe, owner of Riebe’s Auto Parts in Paradise, told CAWA President and CEO Rodney Pierini that many of his employees lost their homes. A Reibe’s recipient of AACF’s assistance, who was calling one room their temporary family “home,” said, “We can now get the essentials we need, including clothes, food, and bedding.”
Pierini said funds are being accepted to an account being administered by the NAPA Sacramento Distribution Center, which is also assisting Reibe’s employees.
Tim Hunzeker, owner of Brake Parts Supply in Chico, had three employees lose their homes.
“We arrived at my brother’s house with only the clothes on our backs,” said an AACF recipient from Brake Parts Supply, according to the foundation. “With AACF’s help, we will be able to meet our immediate needs, and also some small Christmas gifts for our four children, and it means the world to us.”
The Collision Industry Foundation’s (CIF) Disaster Relief Task Force and the California Autobody Association (CAA) have partnered to provide assistance and create awareness for the need of donations.
“Many list not only their homes and belongings, but also their place of employment,” stated Kathy Mello, CAA president, in a letter to members, sponsors and affiliates. “One of the major challenges is finding new housing.”
Parts & People applauds everyone and their efforts to help those in our aftermarket community, because that’s when the “tough get going.”
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How to help
• AACF donations are accepted at www.AftermarketCharity.org, or by calling 772-286-5500
• CIF donations can be made at www.collisionindustryfoundation.org/donate.html
• Information for employment and housing can be sent to CAA at CAAExecDir@gmail.com.