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.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Utilizing First Time NonViolent Offenders

To Whom It May Concern:

Recently, it came to my attention that the US experiences 30-60 natural disasters per year. Understandably, none are the magnitude of the 2005 hurricane season, but we can learn from that season to better respond to the rest.

During my volunteer efforts with the Gulf Coast, I have been awed by the generosity of all who volunteer to rebuild the region. And yet, much needs doing a full 18 months after the storms and other disasters have occurred throughout the nation in that time frame.

This leaves me pondering how to recruit more people for all rebuilding that have yet to occur.

I would like to propose using state-housed offenders.

A program could be established similar to the “shock” or “basic training” programs within many states’ corrections systems for those who are first time, non-violent offenders wishing to be given a second chance at life through what could be a great vocational tool. It can be a 6-8 week program, working with volunteer crews experienced in whatever stage of the relief/recovery effort is occurring at that time, while under close supervision, of course.

These offenders would gain the same experiences of discipline, physical exertion, and self-worth, while also building life skills, instilling a civic connection probably never before felt and help build compassion for others.

By socializing the offenders, citizens and volunteers alike would help break the stigma that follows any person convicted of a crime, showing compassion comes from all areas of our society.
Please consider this idea. It is worthy of pursuit and study, for the number of good things that could be accomplished through a program like this is almost limitless.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


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Saturday, February 10, 2007

2 Men and A Truck

Dear Ms. Sheets:

I read with great interest that your company holds community service in high regard and that your company played a vital role at the beginning of the Gulf Coast recovery effort. Thank you!

I hope you will accept the following proposal: To be in the forefront of energy conservation within the transport industry and assist in the development of a relief material delivery system.

Sponsor a medium or large truck to convert from diesel to straight vegetable oil (SVO). Use this truck to haul materials collected for the recovery effort from any northern US region to existing warehouses closer to or within the Gulf region.

The conversion can be done to either a new or used truck, with mileage and maintenance remaining the same, emissions decreasing and fuel costs becoming virtually nil. Using an SVO-converted truck allows you to test the idea of alternative fuels for your franchises, increasing your “green” presence within the transport industry and decreasing possible costs for assisting in the recovery process. Assistance with the conversion might occur through a company advocating bio-fuels called Grease Car (www.greasecar.com).

Coordination would be exclusively with Citizen Action Team (www.reliefdatabase.org). CAT is an all-volunteer agency that was specifically established for the 2005 hurricane season relief effort, but is expanding to include all natural disasters and has been attempting to establish a distribution chain for both current and future needs.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns regarding this proposal.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


And their address:
3400 Belle Chase Way
Lansing, MI 48911

The people to address it to...
Mary Ellen Sheets, Founder and Chair
Melanie Bergeron, Chief Executive Officer
Brig Sorber, President
Jon Sorber, Senior Vice President, Franchisee of both Grand Rapids locations and the Lansing location

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Garden and Greenspace Letter

To whom it may concern,

Tens of thousands of people are still living in FEMA trailers since Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast. They have no homes to return to, their original jobs washed away with the hurricanes, and virtually no plant life left to hide the scars these storms inflicted on their region.

And while original soil samples were toxic beyond compare, these areas are now testing within acceptable limits for most native and vegetable plant life.
What the entire region needs is volunteer gardeners to coordinate with local ones removing dead plants, rescuing ailing ones, establishing community gardens and replanting wild spaces with native species to ward off the current influx of invasive species.

These people need ways to augment their meager food sources. This can be accomplished with community gardens located in key areas throughout all of the communities.

They need to see their old estate gardens restored to even just a semblance of their former beauty.

They need to see the wild spaces as they once were, loaded with familiar flora and fauna.

They need to see the vacant home plots covered with something other than weeds and trash.

But they can't do this alone. They need folks who know how to make all of these things happen. They need you.

Please contact:
The MS Master Gardeners Association (msmastergardener.org/)
The LS Master Gardeners Association (www.lsuagcenter.com/mastergardener/)
The AL Master Gardeners Association (www.alabamamg.org/)
For more information on helping them rebuild their coastlines, greenspaces and gardens.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Send this letter to your state's Master Gardener Association. A list of the states' orgs are here:
Also consider sending it to gardening magazines such as Organic Gardening, Better Homes and Gardens, Garden Gate, People Places and Plants, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Design, Country Gardens, etc.
And finally, consider sending it to your local garden clubs, horticulture societies, cooperative extensions.

2/23 - sent to me by a great lady in MS:
When you send the le-mail requesting help with restoring the green space destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, please direct any interested groups and individuals to The Mississippi Renaissance Garden web site at: www.msrengarden.org
We desperately need master gardeners, landscape architects, construction firms, corporations, funds, materials, plants and labor ors to help us restore our landscape in Mississippi. The most devastated counties are Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. They can also call me at (228) 388-2622 or e-mail me at msbkt@aol.com. The Mississippi Renaissance Garden Foundation has been formed to help the three counties recover their green space. Many plans have been made to do this, but we need the above resources.
Thank you for your assistance in our time of need. You are doing a wonderful job.
Martha S. Boyce,
Founder and Executive Director
The Mississippi Renaissance Garden Foundation, Inc

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