Car Companies Pledge to Hurricane Relief

Toyota companies has announced a large contribution directed to disaster relief for victims of the hurricane which struck a devastating blow to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Aug. 29th.

“We’re hopeful that aid may quickly reach those who fell victim to the torrential wind and rain,” said Toyota Motor Sales USA President and COO Jim Press in a news release.

Toyota companies gave $5,000,000 toward relief efforts.

Toyota companies have long supported the American Red Cross through associate-giving programs and disaster-related contributions, said Press.

Texas-based Friedkin Companies, the owner of Gulf States Toyota, a privately owned Toyota distributorship, contributed another $2 million to establish the Friedkin Disaster Relief Fund. Southeast Toyota Distributors, a privately owned Toyota distributorship, its parent company JM Family Enterprises, and its associates pledge another $1,000,000 to the American Red Cross.

In addition to Toyota’s contribution, Toyota Financial Services and Lexus Financial Services will assist finance and lease customers affected by Hurricane Katrina by offering a 90-day extension on payments, suspending credit bureau reporting on accounts impacted by the storm, and temporarily suspending collection efforts on these accounts.

Customers wishing to request assistance or discuss their accounts should call 1-800-874-8822.

Similarly, Lexus Pursuits Visa Card customers will also receive an extension on payments and may call 1-866-877-4966 to seek a credit line increase or further assistance.

To stimulate further giving, employee contributions to the American Red Cross will be fully matched by Toyota Motor Sales USA, Toyota Financial Services, Toyota Motor North America, Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America and Toyota Technical Center.

Toyota established in the U.S. in 1957 and operates eight manufacturing plants, with two more under construction.

The U.S. Department of Justice is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by establishing a Lost Loved Ones Hot Line for Katrina victims which is 1-888-544-5475.

Yahoo has also formed a Family Message Boards area categorized by city, college, relief centers, and more and WDSU in New Orleans, LA has more messages for and from missing people.

CNN has a list of Safe List of Family Members of people reported safe and their current location.

The South Mississippi Sun Herald also has a message board for families of victims and housing offers on their website.

Interested parties can go to firstgov.gov for links to other resources for help including how to prevent illness and injury, keeping food and water safe, clean-up safety, and mental health resources. FEMA also has a link to housing and shelter updates on that site.

Emergency Katrina Housing Programs may be reached at 1-866-641-8102 for HUD housing and at 1-800-955-2232 for Section 8 vouchers and public housing residents.

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