Hurricane Katrina community challenge—donate an extra car to a family

Americans are generous and caring. As members of a greater community—citizens, churches, civic groups and businesses are looking for ways to help the victims that survived Hurricane Katrina— these affected people, families, and businesses have a long road ahead to rebuild their lives and their community, and there is much that you can do to help.

You can give any amount of money to the Salvation Army and/or Red Cross.

You can volunteer through the Salvation Army and/or Red Cross.

You can assemble tangible household items now. Currently, there are few places to store tangible items until the water recedes. FEMA prefers citizens wait until FEMA is prepared to handle such items—but that should not stop us from assembling tangible household items NOW. If you know of a church, business or civic organizations that can stage donations near the area of devastation, please get the word out to the various local and national media.

You can donate a vehicle. To expedite collecting and storing household items to help affected people/families re-establish their lives more quickly, you can donate an extra vehicle.

The goal is to receive donations of tangible household items like blankets, clothes, compact or inflatable furniture, dehydrated food, gift cards to stores that sell clothes, etc.—items that can be inventoried, stored and shipped within each individual vehicle based on the seating capacity of that vehicle to re-establish a household of that size.

These vehicles could then either be shipped via commercial car carriers (with vehicles having a full tank of gas) or in the alternative, volunteers could drive the cars in a caravan to the hurricane-stricken area. We would seek someone to donate a bus, driver, and then we would fill the bus with water, so that the car drivers could then ride the bus back to their home community.

You can take up a special collection at your church, in your workplace or on a personal level door-to-door, perhaps you can set up a container in which to collect donations and then bring all monies collected to either the Salvation Army or Red Cross.

Again, if you are interested in doing more, contact the Salvation Army or Red Cross to volunteer.

Marianne L. Garvens

815/232-1474 or 815/541- 4202

2532 E. River Rd., Freeport, IL 61032

Examples of contents for 8-passenger vehicle (2 adults and 6 children):

1. Gift Cards for clothing items, toiletries

2. Phone Cards or cellular telephones

3. School Supplies—notebooks, pens, paper, calculator, crayons, markers, erasers

4. Inflatable Mattresses—4 double or some combination thereof to sleep eight total, eight pillows, blankets, flat sheets

5. Dining and Living Room Furniture—2 card tables with chairs or collapsible or stackable table and chairs for eight, lawn chairs, table or floor lamps, area rugs, shelving units, inflatable furniture, collapsible file boxes or milk crates

6. Eight backpacks loaded with personal items—two towels, four wash cloths, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, flashlight w/ batteries, radios w/ batteries, T-shirts, elastic waste or tie string shorts or pants

7. Dinner service for eight—unbreakable silverware, plates, glasses and some disposable tableware

8. Pots and pans—Dutch oven, two skillets, 2 media pots, baking pans, hot pads, cooking utensils

9. Kitchen linens—Dish towels, dish drain, dish soap, scrubbing pads,

10. Small appliances—electric skillet, mixers, small microwave, toaster over, hot pot, crock pots, deep fryer, gas grill (with gas), hot plate, toaster, vacuum, TV

11. Household cleaners—laundry detergent, broom and dust pan, carpet sweeper, mop, bucket, sponges, rags, paper towels, clothes baskets/hampers

12. Tools—hammer, set of crew drivers, pliers, channel lock

13. First Aid Kit, Bible, American flag

14. Games—puzzles, game boys, cards, board games

15. Sleeps eight tent

16. Car seats, stroller, diapers, baby wipes, formula, bed frames

17. Basic groceries—rice, dried beans, canned meat, dehydrated onions, sugar, flour, corn meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, spices, cereal, evaporated milk, bouillon, peanut butter, nuts, yeast, grits, oatmeal, powdered drink, crackers, pasta, toilet paper, paper towels and canned cheese.

From the Sept. 14-20, 2005, issue

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