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AFR Event Furnishings Donates Unprecedented Amount of Home Furnishings to Operation Outreach’s Inaugural Mission

Posted: 7.26.11

AFR & Operation Outreach

AFR’s Trusted Vendors Offer Up Two Full Homes of Furniture and Accessories for Katrina Survivors

New Orleans, LA. July 27. 2011. When asked to get involved in Operation Outreach, the event industry’s newest charity, AFR Event Furnishings, the industry’s leading furnishings company, simply couldn’t resist.

For the charity’s inaugural mission, (July 16-19, 2011), a group of approximately 30 event professionals from across the nation came together in New Orleans to assist communities that were rocked by hurricane Katrina nearly 6 years ago, and are still in the process of rebuilding their homes and lives. There were three ways for companies to get involved: product donations, time, or talent (or a combination of all of the above). There was no right or wrong, no minimums or maximums, just a request to “give what you can.”

With almost 15,000 items accumulated in total, AFR went above and beyond any “expectation”, delivering two full homes worth of furniture, accessories, and then some. The effort, led by AFR’s VP of Product Development, Norman Imaoka, was more than anyone could have hoped for. Turning to his valued vendors, Imaoka simply asked, “Can we…?”

The answers came pouring in – in the form of donations. Bedroom sets, sofas, chairs, coffee tables, dining room sets, boys and girls bedroom sets, bunk beds, vacuums, microwaves, televisions, sheets, comforters, and much more. Manufacturers that donated product included Coaster, Dickson, Edgewood, Global, Harbor Linen, L.B.C., Lamp & Shade Works, Leggett & Platt, Lloyd’s of Chatham, March Furniture, O’Rourke Sales, Progressive Furniture, Southern Textiles, Springfield & others.

“We are so fortunate to work in a company that is all about relationships,” says Norman Imaoka, VP of Product Development, AFR. “We work with vendors that are talented, caring, and generous. We are thrilled to be able to call upon them and they upon us – especially when it comes to charitable donations. The success of Operation Outreach’s first mission and the incomparable feeling of truly changing people’s lives for the better is something we hope to be able to do again and again.”

And AFR’s president, Jerry Hellmann adds, “I want to personally thank our team and our amazing vendors for their dedication and responsiveness. In a world where times are tough and it is easy to say, ‘no’, we at AFR are so grateful to our vendors, our clients, and all of those around us who make it possible to say ‘yes’ and do good wherever and whenever we can. After all, if we can affect and enlighten just one person, we’ve done our job.”

For more information on AFR Event Furnishings, contact Tricia Schmitt at (800) 331-8700 X 166/

For all media inquiries on AFR or Operation Outreach, contact Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer at 305.466.4312 /

AFR Event Furnishings offers exquisite furnishings and accessories for special events, corporate meetings, weddings, conferences, and trade shows nationwide. AFR prides itself on an unwavering dedication to excellence in servicing our clients. With multiple locations throughout the country, AFR can service clients anywhere, any time.


Operation Outreach is a charitable organization that lets special events professionals give back to those in need. Our endeavors will focus on relief efforts for communities that have experienced a natural disaster and are in the process of recovering from substantial loss and rebuilding communities. Professionals from The Special Events Industry throughout the USA have come together in an unprecedented undertaking: a merging all of their talents and products, in an all-out effort to create dramatic results for the communities it aims to impact.

Photos Courtesy of Lexi Cole