For the last 3 days I've been watching the devastation wrought by a Category 4/5 Hurricane on a heavily populated Gulf coast. I have watched tears from frustrated, frightened and exhausted people newly homeless....City-less...try to cope with not knowing where or when or how help will come. I've been trying to form the words to express what I feel. New Orleans could be Houston. We've been underwater too, but are more fortunate in that we have built in drainage paths called bayous. Even so, had Katrina hit here, we'd have had water from Galveston all the way into the downtown area. It would affect millions of people, just as it has east of us. When tropical storm Allison hit us in 2001, we got help from our neighbors to the east. Now it's our opportunity to return the favor.
Help is coming. From all over the United States of America, help is coming. Houston is acquiring new neighbors by the tens of thousands, and we're setting up to feed, clothe and shelter the families. Houston ISD is pledging to educate the children for as long as they are here.
There have been some calls for all bloggers to designate a charity today. I'm choosing Houston ISD. Donations can be dropped off at any firestation and will be distributed from there. The children will be needing school clothes, shoes, school supplies, and backpacks. I'm also suggesting lapdesks, as many of them will be going "home" to shelters and will have nowhere to write, study or even find a quiet place. A lapdesk isn't much, but if its your space in a space that isn't yours, it's priceless.
'Pup and I are both physically disabled. We can't be useful at the shelters, unless I can find one that needs someone to do paperwork. Perhaps one of the schools can use me as a tutor, or classroom volunteer. I don't know. I hate not being able to do the things I used to do, especially at times like these.
We're going to be donating to the Red Cross, and will be dropping off toiletry items to some of the smaller shelters. To be honest, after this past year, we don't have a lot of extra cash, but we can do without a few things, put them off for a while, to do this. What can you do without for a while?
(UPDATE) A lot of the big corporations here in Houston have made big donations, and will be matching employee donations. 'Pup's employers are amoung them and we may be trying to maximize our donating ability by going this route.
If you are in Houston or the Houston area (which covers about 900 square miles BTW) consider volunteering to help our new neighbors at the Astrodome. The link is here, http://www.harriscountycitizencorps.com/ , click "join now". Be patient, a lot of us are trying to do this all at once and it seems to be overloading the server. (now, that's something to brag about!)
One rant. People, what the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama experienced was essentially a 30 + wall of water slamming into them, bringing with it 150 + mph winds and a deluge of rain. Anywhere else that 30 feet of storm surge would be called a tsunami. That water was what caused the most damage and destruction and death. I've done searches to see what kind of aid was coming to the US from other parts of the world. Unless things change, it doesn't seem to be coming at all. Some German newspaper editorials express little or no sympathy, but blame the storm on the US not signing the Kyoto Accords. Y'all... paper don't stop water.
I think I have a few international readers now and again. I ask them to donate to the International Red Cross. Even if the money doesn't come here, the money will be put to use in other parts of the world to which some of us in the USA won't be able to donate. We're kinda busy just now. We may be busy for a long time.