Fitness/sports industry solicits pledges, hurricane aid

As the flooding recedes, life and business in New Orleans and other neighboring states and communities is trying to recover. SNEWS® has discovered a few industry businesses that are doing their part, from small local operations to nationwide chains. See how you can help.

As the flooding recedes, life and business in New Orleans and neighboring states and communities is trying to recover. SNEWS® has discovered a few industry businesses that are doing their part. Read below to see how you can pitch in:

>> Alpha Fitness Equipment in Chalmette, La., near Lake Pontchartrain, was "toasted," according to an associate, but with an Internet business, friends jumping in to field phone calls from other cities, and relocation to Baton Rouge, La., owner Larry Thon is plugging along.

Despite apparently losing everything at the brick-and-mortar location, Alpha Fitness is soliciting donations on its website, encouraging anyone who simply visits the website ( or those placing orders from other part of the country to add on a donation of any size. Click here to do your part and make a donation of any size from $1 and up.

Alpha Fitness wrote on its website: "Because Alpha Fitness has had to resort to only drop-ship operations to fill your orders it has caused a layoff of employees that really need you at this time. Through your giving and support we will continue to pay them while they try to find shelter, food and clothes. The devastation is massive and those that survived have great needs. Suddenly the area is in need and the supplies are not reaching everyone and there are shortages. We are only concerned with meeting needs. Furniture is not a necessity. Many sleep on floors with nothing to cover it. Because of the evacuation and migration of many to surrounding cities it has inconvenienced the lives of many and caused shortages. Please find it in your heart to do something. Anything and everything given through Alpha Fitness will go directly to the many needs of the workers with families and small children. Overages will help people that are in shelters as we will bring as much relief to them as you allow."

>> Life Time Fitness centers in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Virginia are collecting clothing and blankets in an effort to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. All items donated will be delivered to the American Red Cross. Plus, it's accepting financial contributions at the Life Time Fitness Foundation, which in turn, will contribute all donations collected, along with a contribution from the Life Time Fitness Foundation to the American Red Cross disaster relief effort. Click here to learn more.

>> The Sports Authority Inc. (NYSE: TSA), has also announced it will support relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina by establishing a way for customers to make contributions at its nationwide network of stores and by matching a portion of those contributions. TSA has three stores in New Orleans, all of which have been closed, and more than 60 employees. The company is in the process of attempting to contact these employees to confirm their whereabouts and their safety.

"The devastation in New Orleans is staggering and we are deeply concerned for our employees and all the residents of this area affected by Hurricane Katrina," said Doug Morton, TSA CEO. "We are committed to helping the relief effort in any way we are able to and we encourage our customers to contribute as they deem appropriate. We are heartened by the support given across the country in the wake of this natural disaster and we commend the efforts of all companies and organizations that are providing assistance in one way or another to assist the victims in this tragedy."

Beginning on Sept. 3 at its annual Labor Day Weekend winter sports sale in Denver, Colo., customers will be encouraged to support the relief effort and be given the opportunity to add a contribution on to their total bill. The Sports Authority will segregate the contributions and match a portion of the proceeds, which will be donated to the American Red Cross. The company intends to expand the program across the United States beginning the following week.

>> In addition, anyone can offer assistance by logging onto the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) and registering with the National Emergency Resource Registry (NERR) via There, you can list any resources you may have available to support on-the-ground recovery efforts. This is a secure, official U.S. government system to facilitate the marrying of capabilities and supplies with needs. As of this morning, the highest priority needs are for emergency supplies of non-perishable items that can be made available to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A list of specific needs will continue to be updated on the HSIN, so continue to check back.
To make a cash donation, contact:Â AmeriCares 1-800-486-HELP (4357) or the American Red Cross 1-800-HELP-NOW.