By  on September 16, 2005

NEW YORK — Hurricane Katrina has spurred creation of an organization intended to aid fashion companies help disaster victims rebuild their lives.

Representatives of several firms met Thursday at the offices of Mahoney Cohen & Co. accountants to discuss the best way to set up an infrastructure to get goods to people who need them. Allan Ellinger, partner at Marketing Management Group, proposed the idea and is working with people in the industry to channel their resources.

"Hurricane Katrina was the impetus to get this started," Ellinger said. "The event was unprecedented and our industry has an obligation to help in any way that it can."

He said he contacted individuals who previously ran or owned businesses in the fashion industry and asked them to help launch and administer an industry-wide effort to channel apparel, accessories and even home furnishings to those affected by the disaster.

Janice Weinman, president of Kids in Distressed Situations Inc., spoke at Thursday's meeting about how her organization channels donated merchandise to families to help them "re-create" their lives after catastrophe.

Fashion company representatives suggested the group should focus on two goals: getting apparel to Katrina victims as soon as possible and, for the long term, ensuring that an infrastructure is in place to launch immediate assistance when a disaster strikes anywhere in the world.

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