Right after Hurricane Katrina I wrote an article for my website “Hurricane Katrina – The Unseen Damage”. In this article I described what effects I thought Katrina would have on our facility and other local charities. Unfortunately, I have to report that I am at least partially correct in my assessment, with the full magnitude of my predictions yet to be seen.
I was reading our local newspaper this week and among the articles that reported on the fraud charges against people trying to get disaster relief they weren’t entitled to, the poor response by government agencies to the disaster, stories of survival about some of the many victims of the disaster was a story about several local charities.
These charities were making an appeal to us locals to direct our giving to them so that they can continue to do the work they do. Being one of the first safe communities near the hurricane, our local population has grown considerably with people from the coast. Our community has done an excellent job providing assistance to the hurricane victims and have turned nobody away, however resources are becoming scarce and donations have dropped off considerably.
In the article, a charity that helps the poor with meals and winter heating bills said that donations were “off 40% from this time last year” and they will not be able to provide the same level of assistance that have in past years. There were other charities that were less specific but were concerned that local people will not receive their services because of the decline in local donations and the fact that national charities will not share the huge sums they are receiving and that the government will not recognize them as beneficiaries of the billions they have allocated for storm recovery. I don’t know any details about the effects it has had on the facility I work for, but we have been told to tighten our belts and do whatever we can to conserve resources.
I realize we are just one small community affected by this tragedy and there are millions of people and thousands of communities in the same or a worse boat, but with that in mind I am concerned about facilities all over the south and the thousands of children those facilities serve. I hope that people will continue to support these facilities and that they will continue to be able to care for children that need their services. If that is not the case, I hope that the coming lean times will help us find better more efficient ways of caring for the neglected and abused children that there will be NO shortage of.