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September   6

How to Be Good

They're collecting every useful thing down at the Montclair fire headquarters (Bloomfield and Pine) to bring down to New Orleans next week: clothes, water, non-perishable groceries. Shell Hours are 8 am to 9 pm and your reward for being good is some of the cheapest gas around, right across the street at the Shell station. Montclair's other fire stations are also collecting and so is Just Jake's restaurant on Park Street, across from the Y. Donations can also be made, round the clock, at the Glen Ridge police station at 3 Herman Street.

Other ways to help:

  • Herman Street in Glen Ridge will be holding a yard sale/bake sale on Saturday, September 10, from 10am-5pm, with ALL PROCEEDS going to Hurricane Relief (via Red Cross). Sale will be held at 28 Herman Street (right next to the municipal parking lot, where the BBQ fundraiser for the football team is being held).
  • Temple B'nai Abraham, 300 E. Northfield Rd. in Livingston is a drop off point for FEMA-approved supplies: canned food, batteries, toilet paper, toothbrushes and bottled water. Today until 5 pm, Wednesday 8:30 to noon.
  • Yogabums Studio in Rutherford will give all donations collected during their Friday night meditation sessions (7:30 pm) through September and October to the American Red Cross.
  • Direct donation to ACORN, a relief organization in New Orleans, here.
  • Checks to the UJC Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief may be sent to UJC, 901 Route 10, Whippany, NJ 07981
  • kawayan, the women's boutique on Walnut Street, Montclair, is donating 5% of all sales this week, Tue, Sept 6 through Sat, Sept 10 to the Red Cross.
  • Clothing, water, sports drinks, energy bars, canned goods, blankets, disposable diapers, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries and personal hygiene kits will be collected at the Glen Ridge Police Station, 3 Herman Street starting Tuesday, September 6th. Donated items will be distributed to hurricane victims and emergency personnel. Please contact 973-748-5400 for additional information.

Check out the feature on our Thrills page for more opportunities to help. Please add other ways to help in the comments below.

September 6, 2005 in Civic Virtue | Permalink


All well intentioned, but the authorities I've seen in the past week have made very clear that MONEY is the best thing to give. Far easier for the authorities to deal with than bulky and hard to transport water, food, etc. Make a donation to the Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc., and let them put the money to the smartest use.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | Sep 6, 2005 12:53:07 PM

If you want to give to more gay-friendly orgs than the Salvation Army or Operation Blessing, try these:

Unitarian Gulf Coast Relief Fund - uua.org

Rainbow World Fund - rainbowworldfund.org/

And, the Montrose Counseling Center in Houston is assisting gay evacuees in finding shelter, food, counseling etc - montrosecounselingcenter.org

Posted by: butchcjg | Sep 6, 2005 1:15:19 PM

If you can offer accomodation one of the sites to register at is www.shareyourhome.org

Posted by: aaaaaa | Sep 6, 2005 1:54:36 PM

Is the Salvation Army particularly non-gay friendly?

Posted by: emr | Sep 6, 2005 2:10:35 PM

"All well intentioned, but the authorities I've seen in the past week have made very clear that MONEY is the best thing to give."

I dunno. If I had the same dirty clothes on for a week, hadn't taken a bath or shower in that time, I would certainly welcome clean clothes and some soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. Yes, even more than money.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 6, 2005 2:22:22 PM

A gallon of water is heavy and cumbersome. As it a crate of diapers. Maybe the water gets dropped off at a fire house in New Orleans. Maybe they already have enough gallons of water at the spot it's dropped off, but really could have used it in Baton Rouge. Or Mississippi. Now the water is one more thing that someone has to be transport, stretching already stretched resources. Or maybe it never gets moved at all. I's a lot easier to buy the water and food and clothes as close as possible to the site that needs it most urgently. Seems to me the people on the ground are the best judges of what's needed and how it should be distributed. In short, let them buy it.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | Sep 6, 2005 2:47:07 PM

Updated HHS Web site, hotline for Hurricane volunteers

The Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established a Web site at
http://www.hhs.gov/katrina/ and a toll-free number, (866) KAT-MEDI or (866)
528-6334, to help identify health care professionals and relief personnel to
assist in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

"The desire of America's health care professionals to use their skills to help
Hurricane Katrina's victims has been inspiring," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt
said. "This Web site and toll free number are important tools to become part of
this network of goodness that is taking place."

Multidisciplinary health care professionals and relief personnel with expertise
in the following areas are encouraged to visit the Web site and register to
volunteer for appointment by HHS:

* Administration/finance officers
* Chaplain/social workers
* Clinical physicians
* Coroners
* Dentists
* Dieticians
* Emergency Medical Technicians
* Epidemiologists
* Environmental health workers
* Epidemiologists
* Facility managers
* Housekeepers
* IT/Communications officers
* Laboratory technicians
* Licensed practical nurses
* Medical clerks
* Medical examiners
* Mental health workers
* Morticians
* Mortuary assistants
* Nursing assistants/nursing support technicians
* Nursing staff directors
* Paramedics
* Patient transporters/volunteers
* Pharmacists
* Psychologists
* Physician's assistants or nurse practitioners
* Physician chiefs of staff
* Radiologic technicians
* Respiratory therapists
* Registered nurses
* Safety officers
* Security officers
* Social workers
* Supply managers
* Veterinarians

Please be advised that individuals must be healthy enough to function under
field conditions. This may include all or some of the following:

* 12-hour shifts
* Austere conditions (possibly no showers, housing in tents)
* No air conditioning
* Long periods of standing
* Sleep accommodations on bedroll
* Military ready to eat meals

These workers will be non-paid temporary federal employees, and will therefore
be eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act for liability
coverage and Workman's Compensation when functioning as HHS employees. Although
there will not be any salary, travel and per diem will be paid.

Volunteers with no health care background can find information about
volunteering at http://www.USAFreedomCorps.gov or by calling (877) USA-CORPS or
(877) 872-2677.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Posted by: Franklin | Sep 6, 2005 3:05:28 PM

yes - emr. in addition to rolling back benefits to gay employees.. in 2001 an internal salvation army memo was released. in it, they essentially brokered a deal w/ bush, saying they'd support his faith based initiatives if he changed federal regulations that allowed charities who got federal funding to discriminate against gay people. in 2004, they threatend to close their soup kitchens in nyc if the city passed legislation that barred required orgs/businesses that get city money to offer domestic partner benefits.

Posted by: butchcjg | Sep 6, 2005 3:32:31 PM

If the SA didn't think that contributions of these items were useful, they wouldn't be asking us to contribute them. They have been doing this work for years, so I will defer to their judgement and contribute both goods and money.

Posted by: Bitpusher | Sep 6, 2005 4:01:17 PM

....I would agree that money is the right thing to send. as someone who witnessed the immense amount of waste of materials in the aftermath of 9/11 I can say that montclair_is_crazy is right on the money. there is always room for thoughtfulness and contemplation in these emotional times, rather than just blindly stating things like "If I had the same dirty clothes on for a week, hadn't taken a bath or shower in that time, I would certainly welcome clean clothes and some soap, shampoo, and toothpaste."
disaster response requires careful planning and does require leaving some of the emotional reactions on the back burner when deciding the best way to get the most help to the most people.
sending supplies is the most immediately gratifying for those sending... but usually has the least effective outcome in the long run for the victims. the logistics involved mean that most of these things don't really ever get to the people who really need them. ask anyone who saw the PILES of "stuff" at the many sites after 9/11 and you'll believe it.

Posted by: crazy_is_correct | Sep 6, 2005 4:52:30 PM

"...just blindly stating things like "If I had the same dirty clothes on for a week, hadn't taken a bath or shower in that time, I would certainly welcome clean clothes and some soap, shampoo, and toothpaste."

This wasn't just a blind statement, Whoever You Are, (let me guess, your first name is Audrey?), it's how I would feel. No, I can't speak for how others would feel, I can only project. So if you want to continue to invalidate my feelings, go right ahead.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 6, 2005 4:57:18 PM

My understanding is that the relief agencies simply don't have the manpower to sort through tons of donated "stuff". But perhaps additional volunteers will materialize for this?

Posted by: lurkerlady | Sep 6, 2005 5:38:22 PM

These agencies do prefer actual cash, but they accept the other items to encourage more people to give. Many people will go spend $20 on supplies, but won't donate a $20 bill (b/c by buying the supplies, they know 100% of their donation went to something "good" versus administration, etc). Many others are on food stamps and have no cash to give, but could go spend $10 at the store and drop it off at a local place.

So - if you have stuff to give, give it - but know that they also need $ to transport it.

Posted by: butchcjg | Sep 6, 2005 6:49:11 PM

The problem is with donated items is that they require a large amount of manpower and time to go through. You'd be amazed at some of the stuff people "donate to charity." I've heard numerous stories of filthy, ruined clothing, used soaps, etc. Does anyone remember the football fields worth of clothing spread all over after the tsunami, waiting for people to sort by size/gender/degree of disgustingness? Better to send money so that the charities don't have to go through a vetting process and just send what's needed, and can actually be used.

Posted by: Alison Meyer | Sep 6, 2005 9:34:34 PM

None of Bush's Excuses Float Without Him
Where's Karl Rove?


Where's Karl Rove when Bush really needs him? There has to be a media strategy out there that effectively blames anyone other than Bush for the problems arising from Hurricane Katrina. Yeah, they tried saying "they should have left" before the storm, but when it was pointed out that most of these folks either had no way to evacuate or didn't have the money for sustained motel rooms plus expensive gasoline, they kind of gave up on that argument. Oh sure, a few of the hard core radicals still try to say this, but noone believes it. There is a lot of really poor people in this country, and most everyone knows it. And it doesn't work to just try to blanket demonize someone for being poor. There's a much stronger connection between wealth and priviledge. It just isn't an effective message to just say it is all of those people's fault for not leaving the hurricane zone when they had a chance. Where was the governmental transportation for those that didn't have any? It wasn't there.

But that kind of argument isn't very "Roveian" anyway. It's too raw and full of truth. Rove has this knack of finding a way to destroy you personally that some Americans can swallow as "reasonable" for the express purpose that you are telling the truth. That's quite a skill! And there are a lot of people of priviledge that are looking for such reasons to not have to worry about why they have so much while so many have so little.

Bush sure don't that kind of skill. But he needs that kind of skill to succeed as a politician. Oh sure, everyone from Rumsfeld to Chertoff to Brown has gone on and on about how things are OK, but that isn't good enough under these circumstances. No, Bush needs the "Rove Jugular" to beat back this problem. Some way to make everyone else believe that any problems are the fault of the victim, not the President. But it isn't working with the American people, and it isn't working with me. It seems obvious that Bush is screwing up. Either he doesn't like black people cause they didn't vote for him, which shouldn't even be discussed because of how outrageous and criminal that would be, or he is just incompetent. Either way is bad. There isn't any good in this. So Bush is going down from a really low pre-disaster rating. If he is going to be saved, he needs help. In the past, Rove has been his "go to" man.

Unfortunately, Rove is predisposed. And his predisposition is caused by his own loose lips. We all know that loose lips sink ships, and Rove's is helping to sink the ship of this administration. His loose lips let go of words, that according to some press accounts, were repeated from the lips of Judith Miller, the not so noble jailbird who won't tell the truth so that the nation can know what is really going on, that Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA agent. Unfortunately, one political hack to another (in this case Rove to Novak) spells publication. And there it went - for the whole world to see - Joseph Wilson's wife, who would soon become known to us all as "Valerie Plame," put right in print as a CIA agent.

It was classic Rove. But in this case the truth hurt. Rove was right, but unfortunately for him, it wasn't legal for him to say it. He knew it with his giveaway words to Cooper, the Time reporter - "I probably already said too much." For a couple of weeks a couple of weeks ago, Rove was repeatedly in the news as a potential indictee. Some reporters called him a traitor, and Bush's own credibility was on the line.

Bush has a way of drawing disasters at a key time that takes the news away from his problems. I guess he couldn't have planned Katrina though, cause while piling a lot of responsibilities in his lap, didn't provide him with a lot of personal sympathy like the 9-11 attack did. His totally incapable management has become apparent to the entire nation. With his approval already low from the other disaster in Iraq, which has, at least for Bush's temporary relief, been overshadowed by New Orleans, the faith of nation in him to make the right decisions has disintegrated about as much as civilation has in New Orleans.

Bush needs Rove and needs him badly. If only he had him to come up with a strategy to blame this all on other people in way that makes sense. But nope, Rove is no where to be seen. He's wounded and off licking his wounds. He's a political liability that Bush can't afford to have seen in this environment. But, in the absence of Rove and his cut-throat, stay - afloat strategies, Bush is floundering. But Karl can't be found. And that is the irony of all of this. While the people of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama and Florida are desperate, so is Bush. It's just too bad for him that his buddy of so many years isn't there to bail him out - like he has been in the past.

With ABC, NBC and other private interests acting as the government, one has to wonder how long Bush has left. Can Bush lose the Ted Koppel's, the Charlie Gibson's, the Brian William's, the Matt Lauer's, etc etc and still maintain any credibility? I don't think so. I think Bush is toast. The question now is whether or not he should continue to serve. I would rather see him go. But before he goes, let's have a real investigation into whether or not he ever honestly won a presidential election. Personally, I doubt if he did.

Mark Donham lives in Brookport, Illinois. He can be reached at: markkris@earthlink.net

Posted by: punkrock | Sep 6, 2005 11:56:11 PM

So...what? Just money and no goods? Is that what's best? So just what will happen with the goods being dropped off at the local fire stations? Should we just not bother loading up our vehicles and driving over and simply write a check?

Someone please let me know before I deliver wheelchairs/walkers/etc.!

Posted by: Karen | Sep 7, 2005 12:59:40 AM

I'm donating both, cash AND clothes. If that bothers anyone on this board, tough noogies. You're not the recipients.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 7, 2005 6:30:18 AM

A certain amount of supplies are needed at this time because stores for miles around the disater area are either closed or low on these essentials. Money is surely needed, but no amount of money can purchase things that are just not there. Once regular commerce gets rolling again then basic supplies can be purchased locally.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 7, 2005 9:40:22 AM

"I'm donating both, cash AND clothes. If that bothers anyone on this board, tough noogies"

Yeah, you tell em Martta!!!

Karen, of all the various items discussed here I'm sure wheelchairs, etc. are badly needed and will not go to waste.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 7, 2005 9:46:38 AM

August 30, 2005

NEW YORK - To help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, go to your bank account, not your closet or food pantry, counsels an organization which coordinates faith community disaster response efforts.

"Cash is always preferred over material donations," says Linda Reed Brown, associate director of Emergency Response at Church World Service (CWS), a New York-based humanitarian and relief agency serving the U.S.

"With cash donations, organizations responding to disasters can quickly acquire exactly what is needed based on damage assessments," she explains. "Cash also can purchase goods and services in the disaster-stricken community and thus boost its economy at a critical time."

Material donations often aggravate the disaster, Brown says. Sometimes, they aren't needed - usually the case with clothing and food. Or they may be needed when they are shipped, but not needed when they arrive at the disaster site because needs change from day to day in the aftermath of a disaster. And material donations, even if appropriate, entail shipping, storage, sorting and distribution costs. "In short, cash donations facilitate effective, efficient use of disaster response resources in addressing needs," Brown summarizes. "Materials donations usually add to the cost."

So to whom should you give your money? "Look to experienced volunteer disaster response agencies first," Brown advises, "one recognized for a particular role in disaster response. They provide valuable assistance for people to rebuild their lives physically and spiritually. Yet they're often strapped for funds for these vital services."

CWS and its member communions work in long-term recovery, focusing on the unmet needs not addressed by organizations providing the initial response. Faith groups typically help disaster survivors develop their own recovery plans and work with them to get assistance they need to fully recover. They also send volunteers to disaster sites to repair and rebuild homes. Through CWS or individual denominations, your money goes to work to support long-term rehabilitation.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy_was_correct | Sep 7, 2005 11:03:38 AM

i've given both money and helpful items. i have a friend volunteering at a shelter in san antonio and she told me what they needed. i sent the money to the red cross and the helpful items directly to my friends home for her to distribute at the shelter.
this reminds me of the girl scouts sending cookies to tsunami victims. i think people should follow their own hearts and do what they personally feel is best. new orleans is so fucked at this point it's all just triage.

Posted by: fran | Sep 8, 2005 1:45:23 AM

Re: "If you want to give to more gay-friendly orgs..."

Precious, this is sooooooooooo not about
you. I don't think Katrina victims give
a rat's ass about the personal politics
of agencies and donors, and it's not
the time to be PC or overly analytical.
I don't know who/what/where the Salvation Army saves, or agree with
the huge administrative costs involved
with The Red Cross. However, it's all about getting necessary supplies and
support services right now. If there
are one or two fabulous agencies that can do it, then go with them. Follow
up your quibbles at a later date. Folks of every orientation need help, plain and simple. Yours was the funniest (or the only funny) post I have seen about

Posted by: May | Sep 8, 2005 6:19:05 AM

Thanks, Fran. People should not be pilloried for wanting to give, whatever form that giving takes. Not everyone can afford cash, that's a reality. So they give what they can, whether it be their time through volunteering, spare clothes, canned goods, hygiene products, whatever. What is this so hard to wrap one's mind around?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 8, 2005 8:59:03 AM

Thanks, Fran. People should not be pilloried for wanting to give, whatever form that giving takes. Not everyone can afford cash, that's a reality. So they give what they can, whether it be their time through volunteering, spare clothes, canned goods, hygiene products, whatever. Why is this so hard to wrap one's mind around?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 8, 2005 8:59:39 AM

Thanks MissM. Not everyone CAN afford cash. And not having money obviously isn't the same as not wanting to give...in fact, in this country, it seems the reverse is true. So let us who are struggling to pay this month's mortgage still be able to do something without feeling as if we are clotting up the system and making it all so much worse. Surely, as someone pointed out, they wouldn't be taking the stuff if it were so bad. We don't all have the luxury of giving the ideal gift, but that ought not mean we can't give at all.

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