Exactly four years ago, Hurricane Katrina left a path of death, devastation and destruction from which New Orleans is still struggling to recover. As the city continues to rebound, Sears and the Blue Appliance Crew are joining forces with the national non-profit Rebuilding Together's New Orleans affiliate (RTNO), and longtime resident, football Hall of Famer Archie Manning and his wife Olivia, to restore two important properties in the historic Holy Cross neighborhood.
The Mannings will join Sears and Rebuilding Together on Thursday to celebrate the renovation of a 30,000 square foot Community Center that supports the affiliate's mission. On Saturday, Sears, the Mannings and Rebuilding Together will turn the keys of homeownership back to Army Corps veteran Geraldine Bush. Both properties are located in a neighborhood that was hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Sears donated $70,000 to rebuild the Community Center and Bush's home, and is providing Kenmore ENERGY STAR qualified appliances including refrigerators, ranges, washers and dryers.
"Sears' commitment to supporting communities in need as well as military servicemen and women is a long-standing tradition," said Doug Moore, senior vice president and president, Home Appliances for Sears. "We are determined to help deserving families that continue to struggle with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Through our work at the Community Center and home of Geraldine Bush, we hope to encourage displaced homeowners to return to their former homes and strengthen the sense of community as the city rebuilds."
On Saturday, August 29, Geraldine Bush and her brother will be welcomed back home by the Mannings, Kevin Brown, vice president and chief marketing officer, Home Appliances for Sears; Gary Officer, RTNO president and CEO; and numerous military and Sears volunteers. Geraldine's house is unique in that it, along with all of those on Alice Court, were part of the "trails and rails" program which helped to house people who were on their way across the country, and Sears is pleased that it is able to restore a piece of New Orleans history.
As the Community Center officially opens its doors again this Fall, it will include a workroom where AmeriCorp members and RTNO staff and area homeowners will be able to learn valuable rebuilding techniques to help further develop the Ninth Ward including working with contractors, receiving bids, materials, and permits. The Community Center will be used to house long-term volunteers who come to work with RTNO in eight to 10 week shifts and host classes to teach residents zoning laws, environmentally friendly rebuilding techniques and courses related to woodworking and other skilled trades. Additionally, the facility will be used for storage, processing and sales of salvaged materials received from FEMA and Mercy Corps.
These rebuilding projects in New Orleans are the first to a long-term relationship with Rebuilding Together's New Orleans affiliate. Sears has a presence of 11 stores in the New Orleans area and employs more than 1,100. For more information about what Sears and Rebuilding Together have accomplished, and what their future plans are please visit sears.com.
About Sears Holdings Corporation
Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline retailer with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, home electronics and automotive repair and maintenance. Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. It also has Martha Stewart Everyday products, which are offered exclusively in the U.S. by Kmart. We are the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million service calls made annually. Sears Holdings Corporation operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation. For more information, visit Sears Holdings' website at www.searsholdings.com.
About Sears Home Appliances
Sears is the nation's leading appliance retailer with the largest selection - over 3600 models. Only Sears sells the top 8 brands, including Kenmore, the nation's leading appliance brand. Sears always beats the competition's price, guaranteed, up to 30 days. Sears offers worry-free 1-year service, guaranteed and free help and support on all brands serviced by Sears 24/7 by phone. Sears provides next day delivery on over 1600 models - that's five times more than any national competitor. In March 2009, Sears launched the online ENERGY STAR Rebate Center - a program to help educate Americans about the millions of dollars in rebates that are available for ENERGY STAR-rated products and make it faster to receive these rebates. Sears has demonstrated its commitment to increasing America's energy efficiency through its actions over more than 10 years. Sears sells more ENERGY STAR-rated appliances than any other retailer. In fact, in 2008, Sears was the first retailer to sell more than 3.1 million ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances from the nation's top brands, including Kenmore, the nation's leading appliance brand. In 2008 alone, Kenmore ENERGY STAR-rated appliances helped save America nearly 700 million Kilowatt hours, over four billion gallons of water, and over $100 million dollars.
About Rebuilding Together
Rebuilding Together preserves affordable homeownership and revitalizes communities across America. More than 200 affiliate chapters provide critical repairs and home rehabilitation to the homes of low-income homeowners, all at no cost to the homeowners. Over 200,000 skilled trades and community volunteers donate time each year, putting every dollar to work four-times over in donated goods and labor to serve more than 10,000 homes a year. Read more about them at http://www.rebuildingtogether.org/.
About Rebuilding Together New Orleans
Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a local affiliate of the national nonprofit organization, Rebuilding Together, which has restored and revitalized more than 100,000 homes over the past 19 years. Rebuilding Together's home rehabilitation program targets the populations most affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans: the urban poor. Families that return to their homes in New Orleans - rather than live in exile or in a trailer - sustain a constant, stable, healthy living environment while building their equity and regaining financial independence.
First Call Analyst:
SOURCE: Sears Holdings Corporation
CONTACT: Regina Pelz-Westergaard of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR,
+1-847-286-8984, Regina.Pelz-Westergaard@eurorscg.com, for Sears Holdings
Corporation; or Larry Costello of Sears Holdings, +1-847-286-9036,