Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disasters can Bring out the Best in People

The news is full of the worst. Sometimes it's better to concentrate on the best.

From the AP (see link below):
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said initial corporate donations to the relief effort could total more than $100 million, including $5 million from Chevron Corp., $3 million each from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup, $2 million from Pfizer Inc. and $1 million from insurer State Farm.

The Walt Disney Co. contributed $2.5 million, $1 million of which will go to the
American Red Cross and the rest for rebuilding efforts and volunteer centers helping affected communities.

Nissan North America sent 50 trucks. Anheuser-Busch offered more than 825,000 cans of water. Sprint Nextel Corp. donated 3,000 walkie talkie-type phones for emergency personnel.

Seven truckloads of crackers and cookies were on the way thanks to Kellogg Co. Two dozen cars and trucks were offered by General Motors Corp. Home Depot and Lowe's pledged cash and manpower, while Culligan International sent five truckloads of water.

More than 100 tractor trailers from as far away as California and Wisconsin were on their way to aid Katrina's victims in southwest Alabama with food, water, ice and blankets.


Recalling the national support given South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Gov. Mark Sanford said, "we're ready to return the favor." The state's National Guard was pulling together a military police company, a water purification company and a transport unit to be sent to the coast.

Smaller efforts have also begun. At Ragin' Cajun, a popular Creole restaurant in Hermosa Beach, Calif., the Domingue family — natives of Lafayette, La. — collected more than $550 to help a friend's business that was wiped out by flood waters.

In Pensacola, Fla., Richard and Sarah Trimble left their own storm-damaged home to drive to Mississippi to help feed victims of Katrina. They were with more than 100 members of two faith-based organizations who set out in a 31-truck convoy that included mobile kitchens and showers.

"We get more out of it than the people we serve," said 68-year-old Chester Gunn, of Brandon, Fla. "To see the people standing in front of you with tears running down their eyes and saying 'Thank you' — that's something that money can't buy."

Telethons reminiscent of benefits for tsunami and Sept. 11 victims were announced Wednesday featuring artists such as Wynton Marsalis, John Mellencamp, the Dave Matthews Band and Green Day. Jerry Lewis' annual Labor Day fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association will also appeal for donations to hurricane victims. The MDA said it would contribute $1 million.

The world of sports jumped in, as well, with the National Football League and New York Yankees each donating $1 million to the American Red Cross. Tennis player Serena Williams offered to donate $100 for every ace she hits the rest of the year.

In Detroit, the owners of Community Bowling Centers planned to donate 50 percent of their revenue from three counties during a Labor Day bowl-a-thon. And Florida State University asked fans to donate during a football game Monday against rival Miami.

In Green Bay, Wis., star NFL quarterback Brett Favre spoke emotionally about the devastation in his boyhood home of Kiln, Miss. He said the Packers flew relief supplies to Tennessee on the team plane for distribution in Hattiesburg, Miss., and further south.

What have you done?

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