Insights on business, and practical
ways to improve your own.
How You Can Help Katrina's Victims
Practical, concrete suggestions.
by Brenda Lugannani (September 19, 2005)
(Note: CLN received this note from industry veteran Brenda
Lugannani. We thought the subject was so important that we put it in
an email newsbrief and sent it to subscribers on Sept. 5. In case
you missed it, here it is again.)
To My Craft Industry Friends,
Those of you who know me well, know that I can’t tolerate
suffering of any kind. So the Katrina situation has been tough on me
and anyone else around me. And while I wanted to drop President Bush
(who I campaigned for vigorously) in the Superdome and tell him he
could come out when everyone else was picked up – that wasn’t a
productive use of anger. I have since, come to a completely
different understanding of the issues involved in the evacuation. I’ll
share some of those with you.
Now, in North Texas, we have been challenged to make a home for
people without homes. It was a mixed blessing when FEMA called and
accepted the offer of our dormant summer church camp to house 150
people for the next 60 to 120 days. They accepted, and told us that
they would deliver 250 people to our church camp today, 150 adults
and 100 children. Apparently math is not a strong point at FEMA
today – but they explained that young children would sleep with
their parents until they could help us secure more beds.
The facility would have 24 hour police coverage, fire trucks, and
At the same time our offer was accepted, all around us we saw
similar offers accepted. For example, 50 people in a church a mile
from us, 100 people at First Baptist McKinney, 1,000 people at the
vacant Wal-Mart, abandoned when Wal-Mart opened their new prototype
store in McKinney. Volunteers there have ripped up the carpeting,
painted the floors and walls, built some privacy walls, set up cots,
supplied bedding, and collected new clothing for the people arriving
Our first trip to Wal-Mart found at least 20 other people buying
the same list we had – and Wal-Mart offering to help us any way
they could – including discounts; by the time we left the first
Wal-Mart they were out of twin sheets, pillows, toothbrushes, $5
shirts, men’s underwear and socks, and women’s underwear and
socks. They told us trucks from their warehouse were on the way with
The security coverage became real when our oldest son, a police
officer in McKinney, called to tell us that Collin County had
declared a "state of emergency." Until further notice all
police officers would work 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, providing
the 24-hour coverage at dozens and dozens of sites housing victims
from Katrina – and could we help with our grandson.
FEMA had alerted them that to facilitate the evacuation there was
not sufficient time to conduct background checks. There was no time
to see who was on parole, who was one of the prison escapees, who
were registered offenders, and until all of that could be
determined, they would leave no refugee site without security.
Amazing the things you don’t think about. And, how will all of
that be verified without identification?
So, today is about enough clothes, enough bedding, good food, and
basic needs. There’s not time for other things. Next will be
enough washing machines and driers, Internet hook-ups, computers,
school and job searches.
But once all that is over, these people will need things to do.
As you think about how you can help, that may be the time for the
craft industry to make a big difference. Many of you have already
made decisions to make contributions, and that will be a tremendous
FEMA has requested school supplies, games, puzzles, and quiet
activities for the facilities. But how is all of that being
I struggled with that until I came into contact with Dan
Fitzgerald, the EVP of the Volunteer Center of North Texas. Their
mission is to provide non-profit groups and agencies with
inexpensive supplies to meet their needs. They secure donations,
distribute to hundreds of agencies in Texas, and facilitate searches
for needed supplies. They have been working 24 hours a day.
To contact them visit www.volunteernorthtexas.org/VolunteerCenter.The
address is Volunteer Center of North Texas, 2800 Live Oak St.,
Dallas, TX 75204. Alert them of shipments at email@example.com.
They will accept donations and recruit agencies and volunteers to
distribute them to all of the local area FEMA refugee facilities,
and see that they are utilized.
So, if you are struggling for a way to become involved in a big
way, here is an option to redirect the anger into action.
If you want to help with my small group of 250 new friends,
donations for those 100 children and 150 adults can be forwarded to
Cross Bend Christian Church, 901 Cross Bend, Plano, TX 75023.
Good luck, let me know if you need help.
Cell: 469-441-0944; Office: 972-519-1667; Fax: 972-519-1668. 5309
Brouette Ct., Plano, TX 75023.
(Note: To read previous entries in Kate's Collage, click
on the headlines in the right-hand column.)