How can we help?

Friday, September 2, 2005

Whenever natural disasters of catastrophic proportions occur around the world, the United States has always been a leader in providing aid. Now the catastrophe is here where Hurricane Katrina lashed out with unprecedented fury.

Some officials estimate the death toll could climb well into the hundreds, if not thousands. Because of the devastation, food, water, medical care and fuel are scarce.

Millions of military meals are on their way to the stricken areas. Basic supplies to provide temporary shelters are being shipped. Medical supplies are being stockpiled.

Days after the hurricane swept in from the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of residents in its path are still awaiting rescue.

For the millions of Americans who were not in harm's way, the top question is: How can we help?

Relief agencies -- including the American Red Cross, which has mounted its largest effort ever -- need cash.

Locally, the Vernon County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and US Bank are accepting cash donations. The Vernon County Ambulance District is collecting donations-in-kind of particular items -- baby wipes, diapers, baby formula, baby food, dog food, cat food, bug spray, sunscreen, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, batteries, brushes, combs, toilet paper, trash bags and flashlights. No furniture or clothing will be accepted. These items are meant for the small town of Morgan City, La.

A press release from the State Emergency Management agency suggests that citizens wishing to help donate cash to:

American Red Cross, (800) HELP NOW (435-7669) English, (800) 257-7575 Spanish;

Operation Blessing, (800) 436-6348

America's Second Harvest, (800) 344-8070

Donate Cash to and Volunteer with:

Adventist Community Services (800) 381-7171

Catholic Charities, USA (703) 549-1390

Christian Disaster Response (941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (800) 848-5818

Church World Service (800) 297-1516

Convoy of Hope (417) 823-8998

Lutheran Disaster Response (800) 638-3522

Mennonite Disaster Service (717) 859-2210

Nazarene Disaster Response (888) 256-5886

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (800) 872-3283

Salvation Army (800) SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief (800) 554-8583.

This is a only a partial listing; however, disaster relief agencies are also warning the public to beware of scams -- e-mail, telephone or internet solicitations are suspect. Before giving, consider carefully and investigate, and don't give account or other personal information to anyone under these circumstances.

-- Nevada Daily Mail