Loading disaster relief supplies in A Humanitarian Services warehouse
(Thanks to A Soft Answer for the photo)
You can go here to give immediate, reliable help to Katrina victims:
LDS Church Humanitarian Services
I've been buried at work and so have not been tuned into Hurricane Katrina and the catastrophe it has inflicted on New Orleans and Louisiana. This evening, while returning from a grocery store run, I began hearing the news reports. One story tugged hard at my heart-strings as I contemplated climbing into my soft, dry bed: 30,000 people-- men, women, children, and babies-- are all stuck in the Superdome with no air conditioning, no plumbing, and nowhere to go. I was shaken out of my complacency.
A Place To Express Your Desire to Help
Hugh Hewitt and InstaPundit, among others, are masterfully leading the blogosphere's effort to stimulate and organize support for the relief effort. I have one suggestion you may not have heard about: LDS Church Humanitarian Services, administered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS or "Mormon" Church).
Regular readers here have figured out that I am a member of that very LDS Church, but I have no parochial motives: I am suggesting Humanitarian Services only because it is a proven distributor of solid help to those in need. The Church certainly knows how to do disaster relief, as evidenced by this story. For example, in late 2004 and early 2005 Humanitarian Services flew seventy (70) tons of medical supplies, hygiene kits, clothing and shoes to Indonesia to aid tsunami disaster victims in a partnership effort by Islamic Relief Worldwide and the LDS Church. More than simply shipping the materials to Indonesia, Humanitarian Services had people on the ground making sure the supplies actually got to the people who needed them. Other examples of the many years of Humanitarian Services disaster relief efforts are here, here, here, and here. This is something the Church has done almost automatically for many years.
How Can You Donate? And Why To This Organization?
If you go to the Humanitarian Services web site, you will see that with the click of a button (on the upper left of the page) you can donate. One hundred percent of what you donate will go to the victims; there is no overhead deducted. Any people involved in the delivery of the relief materials will either be volunteers or will be compensated separately. And they will be there in Louisiana long after the immediate relief effort is over.
Members and friends of the Church may continue to make donations online at http://www.lds.org/ldsfoundation/welfare/0,7133,1325-1-9--cWELFAREPOSTER,00.html or by mailing them to: Humanitarian Aid Fund, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
Is The Katrina Effort Underway Already?
It sure is. As reported on the Church's web site, materials are already being shipped to New Orleans through the Church's network of "bishop's storehouses," which are located throughout the United States:
The Church is responding quickly to member and community needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A significant amount of emergency response supplies was ready in bishops' storehouses across the southeast. The Slidell Louisiana Welfare Bishops' Storehouse was not impaired by the storm and is able to meet local needs. Additional trucks with commodities and supplies from the bishops' storehouse in Salt Lake City have been dispatched and two welfare committee members are in the disaster area to help with the distribution of supplies.I hope this helps. There are so many ways to give; Humanitarian Services is just one more.
UPDATE: Here's a brief but interesting report on the early progress of some of the first Humanitarian Services workers reaching the disaster area. Also, A Soft Answer provides a little more detail.