Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Real Help Does Make a Difference

Outrage isn't enough. Preaching to the choir isn't enough. Blogging isn't going to help evacuees rebuild their lives. If you don't have money to give, you can still help.

Here is what you can do:

Open Your Home is a grassroots website using GoogleMaps to hook up individuals and organizations offering shelter with people who need it. Includes info on whether food is included and whether site is FEMA or Red Cross approved.
[Via Los Blogueros]

Roll Up Your Sleeves
Habitat for Humanity is making an emergency appeal for donations to help Habitat partner families affected by Katrina, and has begun planning the long-term recovery and the building of permanent recovery homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Are you as thrilled as I am that Halliburton already has a no-bid contract to pillage New Orleans? Then help with the real reconstruction by helping Habitat build decent, safe, affordable housing.

Share Your Time
Volunteer through USA Freedom Corps.

Give Customer Loyalty Points
From First Pulse Projects via NewsGrist:

"Ask the hotel you frequent, such as the Marriott or Holiday Inn, to give your hotel points to an individual or family in need of a stay for a night, a few nights, or longer, depending on how many points you have. Be sure to get confirmation that your points have been applied in that way. Encourage others to do the same. Also inquire if your airline Frequent Flyer mileage can be used for hotel stays as well."
Make Your Dollars Count
Charity Navigator has a list of tips to make sure your donations go to a relief organization that is legitimate and effective.
NetworkforGood has a list of creditable organizations working on the ground in the disaster relief effort can put your donations to work right now.
If you are planning on donating to the Red Cross, please consider making your contribution through The Liberal Blogs for Hurricane Relief campaign, and post the ad on your own site.

Don't Forget
Katrina will fade away from the focus of the attention-deficit media as the latest newsporn fad usurps the spotlight (i.e., as soon as a white woman victim makes the headlines), but the reconstruction efforts will take months if not years, and will require a huge amount of money, supplies, and volunteers. Find a way to make sure that you aren't duped into forgetting the people that the Bush administration abandoned: commit to a planned giving program; promise yourself right now that over the winter holidays, your present-budget will go to a relief charity organization; give your time to evacuees in your area who will be rebuilding their lives away from their communities, families, and support networks.

Don't buy a bumpersticker. Don't fall for a feel-good panacea. These people desperately need help. Do what you can--and make it count.

Please share in the comments any other good resources, methods, or organizations to help people make a real difference. Thank you.