Thursday, September 01, 2005
you CAN make a difference
Hurricane Katrina Victims Need Your Help.

While it's clear that people need food and other basic necessities, the best way to help is to donate money to reputable agencies so that the necessary items can be purchased and distributed more efficiently. If you wish to volunteer your time, contact a volunteer agency to determine the best way to help.

Give money.
Contributions are tax deductible and every dollar counts. Many companies have matching programs so check with your employer to see if your contribution can be matched. Is it so hard to cut back on a few luxuries for the sake of saving lives? Please give whatever you can. No amount is too little.
::edit:: Through September 30, Best Buy has agreed to match dollar for dollar all contributions made to the Red Cross either in stores, or online if you go through this link.

Offer housing.
Hundreds of thousands of hurricane katrina victims have been left homeless. There's no indication of when the water might be cleared from flooded areas, let alone when the cleaning and rebuilding process can begin. If you have any room to spare consider opening your home/land to those in need. Free background checks are being donated to insure the safety of all parties involved so don't let safety concerns stop you from trying to help.

Give blood.
Blood has a limited shelf life. The different components of blood can last from 5 days to a year or more.
  • Platelets must be used within 5 days of donation.
  • Red blood cells may be stored under refrigeration for a maximum of 42 days. Frozen red blood cells can last up to 10 years, but because of the high cost involved, only a small portion of the blood supply can be frozen.
  • Plasma is generally frozen and must be used within one year.

It's great to respond during an emergency, but because blood is perishable, new donations are needed every day. In addition to meeting the needs of victims, valuable stores were destroyed so the need is even greater than usual. You can donate every 56 days so make a habit of it!

Give miles.
While millions of Americans accrue frequent flyer miles through reward programs, the number of people who actually use them is considerably smaller. Through the generosity of several major airlines, the American Red Cross can receive donations of frequent flyer miles. These miles are used to get help to and to rescue refugees in disaster areas. You know as well as I do how difficult it is to accumulate enough miles to do anything useful with. Why not put them to work? Take a few seconds to check if your miles can be donated.

If you know the words of prayer, I urge you to pray for the victims and their families. Pray for the rescue workers who are putting their lives on the line to help in the relief effort. Pray for our president and other officials, as work is done to coordinate both a short and long term response plan.

You might feel like the problem is so big that there's nothing you can do that will make any difference. The reality is that there is no one person that can "fix" a situation like this. It's only by working TOGETHER that we can make a difference.
amr's brain blurted out at 1:12 PM   Permalink   Home
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