When the International Bottled Water Association convened for its annual convention andat the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, September 27 to 30, it was a case of the right organization being in the right place at the right time.
In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which left thousands of Gulf Coast residents without homes and basic necessities like food and water, IBWA donated all unused bottled water from its meeting to the American Red Cross of Central Florida to aid victims temporarily relocated to shelters. The Alexandria, Va. — based association and its exhibitors donated 200 cases of bottled water or more than one million servings. Since then, IBWA has become a resource for its members to donate bottled water to hurricane victims, says Stephen Kay, vice president of communications at IBWA. The association has donated 30 million servings of water to relief efforts.
This is not the first time IBWA has reached out to the needy. Following the 2002 annual meeting in Phoenix, the association donated unused water to a senior citizens group. In 2001, it gave bottled water to support 9/11 relief efforts in New York City.