Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Relief

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the people of Celebration (like others around the country) are pulling together to help out the victims. Right around this same time last year, we were getting together to assist local victims of the Hurricane Trio (Charley, Frances, and Jeanne). Now, the devastation may be farther away, but the outpouring of assistance is just as great, if not greater.

One advantage that we have is a strong community intranet. Rather than depending on word of mouth, many Celebration residents have an instant communication tool at their fingertips. Right now, the most active threads on the internal discussion forums are virtually all about Katrina relief efforts. Residents and church groups are banding together to collect and deliver supplies and money, and even to offer housing to refugees.

While people around America are opening their hearts and wallets for the hurricane victims, I think that Floridians feel a special bond. For us, there's a feeling of "There, but for the grace of God, go we." Our state is in a particularly vulnerable area, and Floridians have weathered some savage hurricanes over the years. Katrina could easily have come our way, so we can't help but have a special empathy for others in an even more vulnerable area who took the full brunt of the storm.

Every time I see the news footage, I am saddened to realize that something like this could happen in America...people deprived of the basic necessities, such as food and water, crammed together in unsanitary conditions, and corpses lying among the living as people cower in fear of rape, beatings, and shooting. In my wildest nightmares, I can't imagine what it would be like to be suddenly homeless overnight, with every single one of my earthly posessions gone, willing to fight for a simple drink of water.

But if efforts like Celebration's are being duplicated across the country, hopefully the nightmare will be over soon.

For those who wish to donate, I strongly recommend the Salvation Army:

The Red Cross seems to get most of the press, but I am a meticulous donor who researchs where my dollars go and how much overhead a charity has (i.e. how much of my dollar actually goes to hands-on work). The Salvation Army's financials are the best (if you don't believe me, just compare their director's modest salary with the six-figure income of Red Cross's head!).

Learn more about Celebration on my website:

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