|Helping the Victims of Katrina|
There's no question that we need to be finding ways to help people in the Gulf Coast who are suffering from Katrina. I lived in Louisiana for three years, and went to graduate school at Tulane, so I'm very familiar with the area and know the difficulties everyone faces in dealing with the aftermath. It will be years before the area gets back on its feet.
There are already wondeful stories of people trying to help--I heard a bit on NPR last night about a neighborhood in Idaho Falls that wants to rent a bus, drive to Baton Rouge and take 5 families back to Idaho with them for as long as it takes....we'll hear more about that level of compassion in the coming weeks, just as we will also see and hear seemingly endless stories of tragedy and sadness.
So, what can we do? First, mobilize our networks. Talk to you staff, your board, your community leaders about what your town, your agency, your network can do.
Second, post ways for people to give cash. It's really what the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the other organizations struggling to help need most.
Here are some organizations, websites and phone numbers you can post on your site.
American Red Cross www.redcross.org 1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English, 1-800-257-7575 Spanish
America's Second Harvest www.secondharvest.org 1-800-344-8070 Adventist Community Services www.adventist.communityservices.org 1-800-381-7171
Catholic Charities, USA www.catholiccharitiesusa.org 703 549-1390 Christian Disaster Response www.cdresponse.org 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554
Church World Service www.churchworldservice.org 1-800-297-1516
Convoy of Hope www.convoyofhope.org 417-823-8998
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee www.crwrc.org 1-800-848-5818
United Methodist Committee on Relief www.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/ 1-800-554-8583
Lutheran Disaster Response www.ldr.org 800-638-3522
Mennonite Disaster Service www.mds.mennonite.net 717-859-2210
Salvation Army www.salvationarmyusa.org 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) Southern Baptist Convention www.sbc.net 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440 Nazarene Disaster Response www.nazarenedisasterresponse.org 888-256-5886
Operation Blessing www.ob.org 1-800-436-6348
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance www.pcusa.org/pda 800-872-3283
Remember to note that if people give online, to target the gift for hurricane relief. Also check with your local United Way, as well as your mayor's office to see if any community relief efforts are being planned.
I fully believe that we've just seen the tip of this tragedy, and that it will turn out to be the largest natural disaster--by far--- in our nation's history. We need to help now, and then continue to remember to help as the months and years pass and our attention gets shifted to other events.