The U.S. division of China-based hardwood and bamboo maker Wellmade Floor Coverings has set up a relief fund to bring aid to the areas hardest hit by the earthquake that struck the Sichuan province of China earlier this month. An estimated 65,000 people have died from the natural disaster, with many more injured, homeless or missing. While the Wellmade factory in Nanjing, Jiangsu, is approximately 900 miles outside the areas hardest hit, the company said that many of the factory workers have been personally affected.

“There are many people in China who come to work in the factories in the major cities who are from the rural parts of China,” explained Bruce Baxter, general manager of Wellmade’s U.S. division. “When we heard about what happened, we knew we had to do something. We are a Chinese manufacturer that also distributes here in the U.S. So we are both Chinese and American.”

As the U.S. flooring market continues to cool, many major manufacturers are depending more and more on China to grow their business. Recently, Anderson announced a licensing and manufacturing deal with Chinese manufacturer PowerDekor to offer a range of hardwood flooring exclusively for the Chinese market. Additionally, Laticrete recently opened a plant in Shanghai, marking the company’s first fully owned plant outside of the United States. Baxter told NFT that his company was making an appeal to the industry to donate for two reasons: because many in the industry are doing business in the Chinese market, and also simply to ease the suffering of the farmers and factory workers who have lost their homes and loved ones.

“This is a way that people in the industry can offer their support for a very tragic incident, whether or not they do business in the area,” he said. “It’s not an obligation. It’s just a way we can all help out a little bit.”

Working in partnership with Wells Fargo Bank, Baxter said that 100 percent of the donations would go directly to the Red Cross Society of China, with no money taken out for overhead. The company has set up four options for donating.

The first is to visit any Wells Fargo branch and donate to the China Earthquake Relief Account. Another option is to send a check or money order payable to the China Earthquake Relief Account by writing to: Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A., China Earthquake Relief, 8699 SW Main St, Wilsonville, OR 97070; or calling (503) 582-8892 (Bank Route Code # 121000248---Domestic, ISwift Code#  WFBIUS6S---International).

Wire transfers can also be made directly to the Red Cross Society of China through Account No.: 7112111482600000209, China CITIC Bank Beijing, Jiuxianqiao Sub-Branch, C&W Tower. No.14, Jiuxianqiao Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100016 (Swift Code:CIBKCNBJ100).

Finally, donations can be made by contacting: Wellmade Floor Coverings International, Wilsonville, OR 97070; by calling (866) 582-0848; faxing (503) 582-8402; or sending an  e-mail to Wellmadesales01@aol.com.

-Michael Chmielecki