Ideas on assisting in the relief effort without going in person. Much can be done without leaving your house. Give those affected by disaster some hope, and use some of these ideas to help them.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Church Letter of Request

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing on behalf of dozens of families that have been trying to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These families are still spread throughout the country, unable to bring a sense of emotional normalcy or financial stability to their lives.
Something as simple as missing a day of work, or needing a new tire is wreaking catastrophic havoc on these families; paying rent becomes impossible, having to choose between electricity and food, having to choose between needed shoes for the children or that needed tire.
If your church participates in Christmas philanthropy, please consider choosing a family from the Gulf Coast. The needs vary from simple toys for Christmas to total financial crisis management.
Regardless of their situation and of your giving, your greatest gift to them will the gift of hope. Your boxes and envelopes are filled with more hope than any number of items packed within.
There are several options you can choose from to assist these families:
Work with an organization that has case managers for the families. These include CityTeam Ministries (http://www.cityteam.org/), HANDS (http://www.hands.ms/) or The Giving Circle (http://www.thegivingcircle.org/).
Work with a more loosely knit group of volunteers representing the families.These include Katrina’s Angels (http://www.katrinasangels.org/), Impact Ministries (www.citiimpact.org/html/events.asp), or Adopt My Room (www.adoptmyroom.org/).
Work with families directly through such sites as Real People Relief (http://www.realpeoplerelief.blogspot.com/), Adopt A Family (www.adopt-a-katrina-family.com/) or Hope Haven Children’s Shelter (http://www.hopehavenshelter.org/)
No matter what method you choose, I can assure you the family will give far more to you than anything you give them.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

November Updates

Another slightly hectic week. With Thanksgiving, I was actually able to catch up on email! I only have 30 in my In Box! Woo!
Still feeling the affects of the last bee sting. Laryngitis being one of them. Yes, my family is grateful! LOL
I've sent out another 30 letters to local churches. Am going to start an email campaign to my state's public universities in hopes of getting some support there. I've found email is far more productive for the universities than snail mail. Snail mail literally gets lost.
Many new grants have been added to the Grants of The Week post. Also added much to the family and home repair pages. Will be adding more today or tomorrow.
Woke up feeling the futility of the situation. Katrinas Angels are being recognized all over the country, and yet, it's like preaching to the choir. They are being recognized by those who are already in the recovery effort, not be those who thought everything was ok. So, while the recognition is good, it's not doing much to spread the word or improve the efforts.
I've created a poster for folks to use, should they choose to. http://katrinanetworking.blogspot.com/2007/08/letter-of-week.html
If you couple it with the letter AND the public service announcement sent to your local cable provider, you'll get the word out very quickly. And if you want to change the website at the bottom, feel free. The picture was copyright free and since it's not being used for profit, it's ok that way as well. I just put the color to it since it was a B&W line drawing.
I've written a letter that I will be posting in another week for assistance AFTER Christmas. It gives a brief history of Boxing Day (12/26 aka St Stephen's Day) and a way we Americans can make it our own as well.
I have a few more families on the RPR site. 2 have been adopted outright, 1's children have been adopted for Christmas, and am working on another for full adoption. Plus, my letters sent thus far have highlighted each family about 4 times to my local churches. So with any luck, they'll be adopted that way as well.
I really don't think people understand how important the gift of HOPE is. That has far more impact than anything else given. Please, consider it. It's a gift that gives to you as much as to the person you gave it to.

11/19 My Story - People have been asking.

Well, it's been a very busy week. I shipped out about 5 boxes of various items, including one 33# full of Thanksgiving. I wish I could do that for all of the families, but such is life. Someday maybe.
I've added a TON of stuff to the Family Resource post.
I've also added a Grant of The Week post.
I believe all grants will live there, freeing up from posting each one individually, and losing the nightmare of sorting through to find them all. I will still cross index as I am able to the appropriate resource posts.
I've also created, and will be adding to, 2 more resource posts for education. 1 is for families - with both high school and adult learning funding possibilities.
The other is for teachers and schools grants, loan repayment, etc.
Another resource post that will not get AS much attention, but is incredibly valuable is for the "mature" and the caregivers of the "mature".
When did it become illegal to use the word "old" or "elderly"? Anyway, it gives information for distance caring, financial, medical, and emotional support for both the carer and the cared-for.
I got stung by a bee again. Crap. Twice. In the hand. It's still swollen, but the arm isn't spasming all the way to the shoulder blade today. I'm the only person in upstate NY that can get stung by a bee/hornet, wasp in mid November.
I think that's it. I could be wrong, but I think so. LOL It's enough.
Oh - finished another quilt. It's washed and drying now. Will take a picture very soon.
And, my area flooded again. The same storm that flooded the South and made tornadoes everywhere created real flash flooding - which just doesn't happen in NYS. I think this flood casued more damage than the 'record' flood in June. But, we'll see what the numbers amount to in a few weeks. Just about every bridge over creeks and streams got topped by FEET of water, so all must be checked. One collapsed under a garbage truck. The guys weren't hurt, but the truck was "disabled". LOL
So - update me when you can! And read when you get the chance. There's a ton of new stuff and it's all 'good' information.

11/14 Good day! I got word that the newlyweds LOVE their quilt - pictured below. Also got word that one of 'my' families is getting some full time help in finishing their house! Wooohoo! I love when a non-plan comes together. Also heard that one of 'my' groups got $3000 from their local elementary school to help finish a house that needs another $10,000. They're a third of the way there! Also found a job for a friend who had volunteered in Hancock County for a long time (see the family above). And sent out 30 letters to local churches asking for both Thanksgiving help for Gulf Coast Agencies (listed them) and for Xmas help for 'my' families - each family got 2 letters sent in their name. Next week another 30 will go out for just the Xmas help for the families. If this year is like last year, it will garner assistance. I just don't know how much. And also sent out 4 boxes to 4 separate families of little stuff that wasn't being used around here that they needed badly. So - I am a happy girl! It's a good relief week!

11/12 This is the latest quilt made - another Wedding Ring. This one is slightly different in that I put the "rings" in a different location than the previous one. It's for a darker room with different colors, so it was more appropriate this way. I think I calculated 38 hours in this one. Queen size - about 90" sq.
This week has been all about preparing for Thanksgiving AND adding families to the Real People Relief site AND cross indexing. That's where my eyes cross. Trying to keep all of the relevant information on all of the blogs. Woof!
But, I figure if I can get to it about once every 2 weeks, life is pretty good.
I created a post called Second Thanksgiving - it's about making "stone soup" out of the leftovers from the First Thanksgiving. It's an easy way to make 2 separate meals for the price of one - both for those who are cooking en masse and singular families.
I've gotten many updates from different organizations. The best ones thus far are Citizen Action Team, CitiImpact, City Action Partnership and The Giving Circle. The rest I try to sort through the websites for something remotely recent and post that. That is on this week's agenda. It's a killer on my vertigo, but it's very important since I've been receiving an increased number of emails thanking me for the most comprehensive and up to date information on the recovery effort.
Otherwise, not a whole lot going on. Am continuing to prepare boxes to ship of items I have to give, plus continuing the church mailings for the holiday giving spirit to kick in and normal daily stuff (which includes a LOT of napping!) Update me as you are able!

11/9 A GREAT Quote
This is the story of the storm. You haven't heard from someone in a year but you haven't thought about it either because the year is a big blurr ..a big smudge. (thank you Val!)

A lot to cover this time!
First, I think I found the source of the increased vertigo - I tsopped a med last week and I've been feeling better ever since. Imagine that! At least it's getting better - that's all I can ask for.
Am working on 2 quilts. Have just gotten fabric for another from a friend in Canada. The design is a knock out too! Can't wait to get started on that one.
I have submitted a press release to God and everybody about the RealPeopleRelief blog. I honestly hope someone picks it up because it's one that really needs to be highlighted. The others would be nice to have highlighted, but this one, to me, feels most important.
You know what people are lacking? Clothes. For all the clothes that were sent at the beginning and then thrown away for lack of storage space, clothes are needed yet again. Paper supplies. Napkins, TP, paper towels are all in high need. Toys. So many have yet to have Christmas or birthdays since Katrina hit that presents are really being wished for this year. Food. FEMA trailers have NO storage space, but people are still really needing food.
It's as if the storm happened last week. The basics are all badly needed.
Am working on a series of posts regarding easy ways to update readers and volunteers. It seems a bunch of us are seeing this as a real issue - but from different sides of the problem. Hopefully, this will help one aspect of the issue be resolved and not in such a crisis mode.
Am also working on a longer post for volunteers and residents alike to use to stay as healthy as possible without the health insurance they so desperately need. I'm almost finished with the first draft and will hopefully have it on the RealPeopleRelief blog in the next 24 hours.
Have written a post about avoiding infectious diseases. This is vital, and is where the above has evolved from. Please review it and print the poster provided. Click on the picture, and then save from there. It should save as 8x10 to be printed on normal paper stock to hang in all communal areas.
I need some help collecting data on relief assistance available in both AL and LA. If anyone has such a compilation, please let me know. I'll give full credit and will save my vertigo a real workout. Thanks!
I have all of the weekly features up and running.
Family of the Week - Usually updated Sundays.
Agency of the Week - Usually updated Sunday or Monday
Letter of the Week - Usually updated Mondays
The LOTW will be about asking your local churches to assist by choosing an agency or family to assist all during the holidays. I will be leaving this one up for 2 weeks, and then as the secondary letter for another 2 weeks. This is too important not to.

And on that note of assisting - BoxTops for Education has many partnerships with companies, both bricks and clicks - so please check them out on the blog page. They can be tricky to get to through the Boxtops for education site.

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