I know I'm not alone when I say that the past week has been a strange blur for me. I seem to be unable to pull myself away from the TV and all the horrible images and heart-wrenching stories that are coming out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Whole towns along the Gulf coast gone. New Orleans underwater. Thousands upon thousands homeless, hungry, sick, lost, and finding themselves in shelters with nothing but the clothes on their backs. God knows how many more are still missing or gone forever. It makes me ill inside and breaks my heart.
For those of you who hate feeling helpless and want to help, like I did, there are numerous ways to donate money, time, and material items to those in need:
Please be aware the Red Cross (www.redcross.org) is collecting donations online, by phone, by mail, and from local chapters. Visit CNN (http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/katrina/help.center/) or one of the other news websites to find lists of dozens of other organizations that are helping Katrina victims.
For those of you who are animal lovers, PetsMart (www.petsmartcharities.kintera.org/hurricanekatrina) is accepting donations to help the homeless, injured, and needy pets left in Katrina's wake.
If you'd prefer to donate material items, Kathryn Falk, Lady of Barrow, who owns Romantic Times BookClub Magazine, is organizing a drive in Texas. You can send personal care items, clothing, baby items, children's medications, etc. to:KATHRYN FALK10218 COUNTY ROAD941BRR 1 BOX 134ALVIN TX 77511-6839She will make sure everything is distributed appropriately to those who need help.
Jaymi, of Fallen Angels Reviews, is currently running a book drive for Katrina refugees. If you have used books (adult and children's) and/or coloring books and crayons (coloring books would need to be in new or like new condition), you can send them to Jaymi in Texas, who lives in the Houston area, and she'll get them to the shelters. To find out where to send books please contact Jaymi or JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In the weeks and months to come it's going to be extremely difficult for all these displaced folks to begin to recover and rebuild their lives. The best thing we, as human beings can do, is rally around them and offer our help, our blessings, and our support.