DEC 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 26 The AWARDS Issue! Trial By Flood It's likely that few people in the meetings industry have had to deal with the storm situation that faced Kathy Lowrey, general manager at the Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell, La., in 2005. The facility had only been open a few months when Hurricane Katrina struck in late August of that year, so one of the venue's earliest functions was to serve as a Red Cross shelter. Even though the facility sustained a bit of dam- age, the staff was able to provide access to undamaged areas and helped keep the center operating 24 hours a day for several weeks. "The Red Cross used our Box Office as their office," Lowrey said. "We definitely did not think that our first event would be to cre- ate a shelter for storm victims, but it was great to provide a place that let people stay close to home. It was also a great learning experience for all the staff." As a result of this "trial by flood," the Northshore Harbor Center staff has been prepared for various storms, including 2017's Hurricane Nate, which have threatened, but fortunately have not damaged the facility. "Since our experience with Katrina, we have developed and have in place a policy that explains how to prepare for a major weather event," Lowery said, adding that the International Association of Venue Managers, of which she is a member, provides training and support on ways to manage severe weath- er and other safety situations. n Lowery The Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell, La. became a shelter following Hurricane Katrina. Helping People Recover From Harvey Among several recovery and relief programs In the Houston area, the Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund is specifically targeted toward helping people in the hospitality industry. This includes those who perform services of any nature within the industry including hotels, restaurants, theaters, arenas, stadiums, attractions, or any organiza- tion that directly sells or promotes Houston as a destination. To apply or donate, go to visithous- Another donation site, Houston First Aid Fund, provides a way that people can help HFC employ- ees cover financial loss due to Harvey. Through this donation site, which is managed by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, contri- butions are distributed to HFC employees in need. Go to to donate. Additionally, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which accepts tax deductible flood relief dona- tions for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. Visit for more information. Assisting Those Impacted by Irma A number of organizations are involved in relief efforts in south Florida to help those who incurred damages due to Hurricane Irma. By going to give., donors can donate to the Hurricane Relief Fund at The Miami Foundation, which is helping families, communities and busi- nesses rebuild. Other programs include: • The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which partnered with United Way to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Southwest Florida. Donations can be general or designated to one of the following counties: Lee, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte or Collier Counties. To donate, go to or text GIVESWFL to 444999. • The Gulf Coast Community Foundation Fund, focused on making the region habitable again so residents can resume their daily lives. Visit gulf- to donate. • The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys created a relief fund for local nonprofits and faith-based groups helping residents of the Keys recover. Visit to donate. • Bridge to Hope provides services to South Florida's vulnerable communities affected by Hurricane Irma, such as the elderly, chronically ill, homeless and low-income households. Go to to learn more. • The Early Learning Children's Foundation will provide recovery resources to more than 1,500 childcare programs across Miami-Dade and Monroe County to serve high vulnerable children in the community. Visit to learn more. n Hurricane Relief Efforts Continue The 2017 hurricane season may be over for the southern U.S., but many people are still reeling from the impact of this year's major storms. As those who were affected by one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons on record continue to deal with the loss of lives, homes, jobs and related stress, a number of organizations continue to offer various types of assistance. Presented below is an overview of some of these programs.

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