Continue to give

By Chuck Kajer

Perhaps you’ve already given to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Or maybe you’ve seen the destruction and devastation along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of the storm and said to yourself that you need to give.

Much has been written about the slow reaction of bureaucrats in response to the damage. There has been anger in watching the looting that went on in the days after the flood, and concern for those who survived the storm and the flood, but who were trapped in their homes and couldn’t get out. What we haven’t heard enough of is the response of the American people.

It has been many years since an American city has seen such widespread damage like this, and the public has never seen so much destruction through the mass media. The people of the world have followed this unfolding drama through newspaper articles, 24-hour cable news stations, the internet and other media. And because of this, it has hit home with many people.

Evacuees are being sent all over the country to help them in their hour of need. Texas has been the focal point, with so many storm victims holed up in the Houston Astrodome, but there will be victims in many other states, including many who will be housed at Camp Ripley in central Minnesota.

And Americans have responded in a big way. The annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy also raised funds for Katrina’s victims. There have been TV concerts and other national fundraising efforts, as well as smaller, local efforts. Every one of these drives has been needed and valuable.

Locally, Hands of Friendship Thrift Store in New Prague, over the past weekend, collected more than 22,000 pounds of personal items and toiletries that were sent in two packed trailers for distribution to those displaced by Katrina. Harold Louisiana, who was scheduled to drive to Houston on Wednesday, said they will stay several days to help, then return and begin collecting more, as long as the donations keep coming and the need is still there.

The need will be there for a long time. The donations need to continue as well. Please continue to give. If you haven’t given yet, please do so now. If you have given, consider another donation.

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