Industry insider fundraiser expands beyond ASR to surfers and skaters worldwide
Laguna Beach, CA (March 31, 2005) — The entire action sports community is mobilizing a massive fundraiser for disaster relief to aid survivors of the latest earthquake in Nias. After initially raising $40,000 for SurfAid International, with the sale of bracelets to action sports industry insiders at the Action Sports Retailer Trade Expo (ASR), the BandTogether effort is now expanding beyond the industry to the general public. For only $5, action sport enthusiasts and anyone looking for a way to provide much needed funds to the relief effort can 'band together' by purchasing a blue wristband at their local surf or skate shop or by visiting www.surfaidinternational.org and www.swell.com.
"We started BandTogether to bring the surf/skate industry together and give back to tsunami victims through our endemic relief group, SurfAid International. Immediately, we were inundated with requests from the general public and other enthusiasts who wanted to get involved, says David Loechner, President of VNU's sports group, which includes ASR Trade Expo, and a SurfAid advisory board member. "Because of the care and concern of the entire surf and skate community, SurfAid International is now able to take BandTogether beyond ASR and the industry.
BandTogether allows people to donate directly to SurfAid International, a non-profit organization that is already established with doctors and boats in the region and currently engaging in relief efforts. The wristband campaign will enable SurfAid to reach even more people and raise awareness of the region's ongoing needs. The BandTogether bracelets are constructed of light blue silicone imprinted with the words 'SurfAid.'
"I have been surprised to see how well the bands continue to sell in my shop. It is so encouraging to see surf communities and our whole neighborhood get behind SurfAid and help people in their time of dire need, says Mikke Pierson, co-owner of ZJ Boarding House and SurfAid board member.
In the next month, an ad campaign will kick off to support the Band Together efforts. Surf magazines including TransWorld Surf have donated space to promote the fundraising effort.
"BandTogether's energy and donations are directly helping people who have been so devastated by this terrible series of events and are a huge motivation for our whole team, adds Andrew Griffiths, SurfAid CEO. "It is a fitting and embracing project for an international tribe of action sports fanatics."
SurfAid is planning emergency interventions to the worst affected areas of Nias and surrounding islands. Many of the affected populations are in isolated locations that may now be reachable only by boat, as most of the bridges on Nias have been destroyed. SurfAid's unique and established relationships with the local surf-charter industry allow them to use marine-based resources to rapidly initiate relief operations.
Initial plans comprise a marine-based medical and relief operation to address the worst hit areas of Gunung Sitoli and Teluk Dalam, Nias Island's largest towns. Up to 80% of Gunung Sitoli's (population 20,000-30,000) buildings were destroyed, and reports from Teluk Dalam (population 10,000) indicate a similar situation.