Jan. 13, 2006 -- North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) is proud to announce that nearly $50,000 has been raised for a fund to assist NARHA Centers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida that were affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Seventy-pound toppled arena lights, flooded barns and several equine deaths are just a sampling of the devastation NARHA Centers faced in the wake of this year's hurricanes.
NARHA's 2005 Annual Meeting and Conference was held in Houston, Texas, in November after relocation from the originally scheduled location of New Orleans, La. In an effort to mitigate the impact of the hurricane damage, proceeds of the Annual Silent Auction held in conjunction with the association's national conference were collected for the NARHA Gulf Coast Hurricane Assistance Fund.
In addition, the fund was strengthened by donations collected prior to and during the conference, including a collection at a conference luncheon. Due to the overwhelming generosity of NARHA's constituency, this fund will be able to make a substantial contribution toward assisting NARHA Centers in their recovery efforts so they may resume the work of enriching the lives of individuals with special needs through equine-assisted activities.
"We are all inspired by the awesome participation of our membership and caring supporters in their efforts to assist others in this time of need," said NARHA Executive Director Sheila Kemper Dietrich. "To have raised such an impressive sum is a testament to the dedication and passion those in the field of equine-assisted activities have for the work done at our centers. We want to help ensure these centers can resume services as quickly as possible."
The NARHA Gulf Coast Hurricane Assistance Fund will help to provide horse care, rent or mortgage assistance and utilities assistance to centers that have experienced undue financial hardship, expenses and loss of revenue as a result of the 2005 hurricanes.
For more information about the fund or to contribute, call NARHA at 1-800-369-7433.