donating for hurricane relief


Today I was thinking about where to send some more money for hurricane relief and was thinking about sending a donation to Save the Children. However, I read an article on that said Save the Children has no experience with disaster relief in the United States so is providing relief by setting up play areas and after-school programs for evacuee kids. Or planning to. It wasn’t clear.

Huh? Kids need food and shelter and a sense of security above all—and after-school programs are not going to cut it, not right now. If Save the Children can’t provide disaster relief for kids in the US because the US crew is not experienced in doing this, maybe they should bring in staffers from places where they supposedly have had success providing relief and let them do it. When I was an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn (I taught in a very rough neighborhood), there was not one kid who could play if his or her life was in turmoil, he or she was hungry, terrified, or wrenched from their family or living in a shelter. Didn’t happen.

Since it’s obvious Save the Children doesn’t know what to do, I decided to send more money to an organization that does: Americares. They have a bit better rating than Save the Children does, anyway, according to Charity Navigator. The Red Cross hasn’t impressed me much since there were so many questions about the 9/11 donations and there are too many reports on TV about the Red Cross being as scarce as FEMA—whether it’s because they’re overextended or disorganized, I don’t really know. Americares is a Connecticut organization and I’d like to believe I could head to Stamford to find out what’s going on.

I’ve been watching Katrina coverage almost obsessively. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because it could happen to us, the hurricane, the floods, the destruction. Although I live in a county that has the highest per capita income in the nation (the county—not my city, which is a working class town, Norwalk) and contains the town where Bushie was actually born (Greenwich—c’mon, you don’t think that Texas accent is real, do you?) And where Wall Street barons and the media royalty live. So I think the federal response would be stunningly different than its shameful response to Katrina.

I think about how much my husband and my animals and my house mean to me and just feel so awful when I think about how much the survivors have lost. It breaks my heart to see people separated from their pets because the shelters can’t handle them.

We’re heading home to Connecticut this weekend. Next week, I will gather together all the stuff we can give to evacuees, clothes, purses, shoes, other stuff, and try to figure out how to get it where it’s needed.

I’m dreading the body count. I hope the estimates being bandied about are wildly inflated.

It’s going to take me a long time to get over my anger at our government. I’ve already decided that I will never vote again for any politician at any level who comes from money unless I know him or her personally and am convinced he or she is a person of integrity. I want leaders who can at least remember what it’s like to live from paycheck to paycheck or who know that there are some things in life you actually have to work for. I don’t want any more rich white men or women who claim compassion—I want leaders who have empathy with the struggling because they’ve been there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/09/05 at 02:39 AM
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