something useful, something useful and funny, and general moaning

First, I know I have nothing to complain about, but I hope you’ll forgive me a little whine. I cannot imagine how the people who were displaced by Katrina — many of whom still can’t go home — have coped. I sit here in a nice motel room, I’ll be going back to my own house tomorrow, and I’m completely discombobulated. Which brings me to a website that Charlotte brought to my attention:

The Little Rock Friends Meeting (Quakers, in other words) is busy building bunkbeds for those who are trying to get reestablished after the hurricane. You can contribute by sponsoring a whole bunkbed with bedding, or some smaller part of a whole. Or you can send linens, blankets, pillows. Any way you do it, this is the kind of practical help that people really need.

edited to add this note from Charlotte:

Thanks for mentioning the project! Here’s a little more info from the Friends’ mailing list…Why bunk beds? They provide a semi-private space for a kid (even one who is sharing a room with several other people). Remember from your childhood the reassuring feeling of retreating to your own little “fort”? That’s what we want the kids to have. Beds are also designed to be easily taken apart and reassembled if the family has to relocate again.

If you feel moved to donate, any amount is welcome, and receipts for taxes are available from the Meeting. A complete bed with bedding costs $200. Volunteers are also needed, singly or in groups, to come help build beds. For info about volunteering, contact Marianne Lockard: MariQuaker AT Arkansas.net

Another way to participate: have your kids send drawings, messages, or books to put in each child’s pillowcase.

Onto something else that has nothing to do with writing fiction or my books. I saw a television commercial last night that made me laugh out loud with glee. The American Council on Education has launched an ad compaign (print and television) to remind people that higher education has a practical and highly necessary output. There’s an article about the ad agency who has donated the time to put the campaign together.

Stillbroken
Also, here’s the website of Solutions for our Future, a consortium of institutions who got together to launch this whole project.

The dialog for the screen cap (you can find videos of all the commercials to download here):

“Still broken. Take six more pints.”

And the voice over: “Less support for higher education means fewer medical breakthroughs. Open-heart surgery and other advancements came from colleges and universities.”

The next time somebody tells me they won’t support taxes for education because they have no kids or their kids are out of school, I’ll have something to show them.

7 Replies to “something useful, something useful and funny, and general moaning”

  1. Because of my proximity to N.O. a lot of hurricane victims came to my town. My agency participated in one of the one stop shopping social services for the victims. It amazed me how resilient they seemed. A friend of mine who has made Austin home because of Katrina still has a hard time talking about it. He interjects into different conversations, “Then the rain came…”

  2. Thanks for mentioning the project! Here’s a little more info from the Friends’ mailing list…

    Why bunk beds? They provide a semi-private space for a kid (even one who is sharing a room with several other people). Remember from your childhood the reassuring feeling of retreating to your own little “fort”? That’s what we want the kids to have. Beds are also designed to be easily taken apart and reassembled if the family has to relocate again.

    If you feel moved to donate, any amount is welcome, and receipts for taxes are available from the Meeting. A complete bed with bedding costs $200. Volunteers are also needed, singly or in groups, to come help build beds. For info about volunteering, contact Marianne Lockard: MariQuaker AT Arkansas.net

    Another way to participate: have your kids send drawings, messages, or books to put in each child’s pillowcase.

  3. Although it’s not as immediate a need as say beds or a place to live, many of our local school libraries here in upstate NY have organized a book drive to collect 10,000 books to restock a single school library in the hurricane affected area (we actually exceeded our goal back in Feb.). When you stop to consider just how many schools have had their collections completely destroyed either by water or the moldy aftermath, it seems like a drop in a bucket but the rebuilding/revitalization effort has to start somewhere. Maybe it starts with something so small as one book, one bed, one pillowcase….

  4. Karen, it’s good to hear about the library rebuilding! I think that one book, one pillowcase can mean a lot, when you get it into the right hands. For example, many quilters’ guilds responded at first by whipping out quilts, and blankeys for kids, and now they’re also sending fabric and tools to the quilters who lost all of their own. Trying to get my head around the scope of such enormous loss, I find I feel moved to try to send or sponsor a few of the things that I would feel most dislocated to lose myself. And I think that can also communicate, “you’re not a Refugee who only needs food jand water, you’re a Person and you deserve to read, and go to school, and sew again.”

  5. When I volunteered to help out we had some left over backpacks that no one had picked up from our school supply drive that we gave away. It meant EVERYTHING to the children who had to start school in a strange place with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Having school supplies allowed for them to experience a little bit of normalcy. I also made sure to put a small toy from our Christmas Drive in with each bag. Bras were another thing that meant a lot to the women who came to my agency for help. Many of them were fairly large women and hadn’t been able to get any bras because the rag piles they had out for people had only small sizes. Thankfully my organization has a great relationship with Wal-mart and get a LOT of donations from them. We went through them and were able to find large size bras for these women.

  6. Around here, there’s been a big focus lately on rebuilding gardens following the fires – it seems like such a small thing in the context of the situation, but the scarring of the landscape caused considerable concern for many and the community hasn’t felt ‘finished’ until some of the replanting started, now almost three years on. But then, as awful as it was for us, it was nowhere near the scale of Katrina and we were lucky as a community that we didn’t lose whole schools/community centres etc, so we could focus our long-term ‘aid’ efforts on things that would be utterly insensible in a bigger crisis.

Comments are closed.