Katrina Networking

I am using my networking and marketing skills to pass along vital information to organizations, volunteers and survivors of the 2005 hurricane season. Grants, networking, advocating, assistance resources, articles and more. Updated regularly to better assist you.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Project Baby Box

Thank you to National Right To Life Committee for this idea and effort (http://www.nrlc.org/CPCHelp/OperationBabyBox.html)

1. Buy a bank box – the kind used to store files and documents.
They are made of sturdy cardboard, come flat and must be folded into box shape, have lids and are available at most stores that stock office supplies.

2. Choose a gender and age category for "your" baby.
Cut out the appropriate label and check the age group for which you will be packing the box. Click here for Baby Boy label or Baby Girl label.

3. Refer to the shopping list below and purchase the items required for the age group you have chosen.

4. Pack the items neatly in the box – start with the diapers on the bottom, and then work your way up from there. It will all fit – you just might have to be creative! (Please leave all food items and utensils in their original packaging.)

5. Once you have filled the box with all of the necessary items, you may have some room left over. Feel free to be creative, as long as it's appropriate and in no way culturally insensitive.
(Examples: a special pair of baby booties or homemade item, an inspirational book or small Bible for the parents, a small toy item, any other baby item you think might be useful.)

6. Take a moment to write a note of encouragement to the parents of the baby who will be receiving the box. Remember – many of these people have lost everything, and are relying upon the kindness of strangers to have their basic needs met. An encouraging word will likely go a long way!

7. Securely tape the lid of your box in place, make sure the handle holes of the box are covered with tape (so nothing falls out or is stolen en route) and affix the label to the outside of the box on one end.

8. Address your box to the pregnancy resource center of your choice from the list below and send it via U.S. mail or UPS – whichever is cheaper in your area.

9. Continue to pray for the baby and family that receive your box, and for all of those in the hurricane devastated region.

Each box should include:
1 jumbo pkg. diapers
1 can powdered formula (12 oz. or larger)
4 pkgs. Baby food (plastic containers – 3-9 months, only)
1 pkg. baby wipes
1 or 2 outfits
1 pkg. onesies
1 bottle baby wash
1 bottle baby lotion
1 tube diaper rash ointment
3 baby bottles
1 pkg. baby spoons
1 small covered baby bowl
1 box baby cereal (0-9 months only)
1 blanket
1 or 2 bibs
1 or 2 baby washcloths
1 baby towel
1 pkg. pacifiers
1 bottle Baby Tylenol
Note of encouragement to family

Optional items:
Baby toy
Special handmade item
Devotional/inspirational book
Small Bible

Mommy 101
Tasia PoyadouMiss Mississippi Teen
C/O City of Waveland
335 Coleman Ave. #8
Waveland, MS 39576
(Read more here http://wavelandrelief.blogspot.com/2007/02/project-mommy-101.html)

Gulf Coast Pregnancy Resource Centers:

ACCESS Pregnancy and Referal Center
1799 Stumpf Blvd. Building 2, Suite 9
Gretna, Louisiana 70056
Director: Kay Bongard
N. Baton Rouge Women's Help Center
7515 Scenic Highway
Baton Rouge, LA 70874

A Pregnancy Center & Clinic
c/o Sharon Hayes
913 College Road, Suite 206
Lafayette, LA 70503

Ark-La-Tex Crisis Pregnancy Center
921 Shreveport Barksdale Hwy.
Shreveport, LA 71105

Center for Pregnancy Choices (815)
4539 Office Park Dr.
Jackson, MS 39206

Women's Resource Center
772 B Howard Ave.
(Vieux Marche Hall)
Biloxi, MS 39533

Friendship Baptist Church
(251) 865 4724
Hurricane Relief Fund
P.O. Box 756
Friendship Baptist Church
Grand Bay, Alabama 36541

Women's Resource Center
308 S. Sage Ave.
Mobile, AL 36606

Pregnancy Resource Center
745 Grace Ave.
Panama City, FL 32401

Sozo Life Connection
419 Racetrack Rd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

Pregnancy Help and Information Center
1710 South Gadsen St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Safe Harbor Women's Resource Center
813 E. Gadsen
Pensacola, FL 32501

Pregnancy Resource Center
5736 Stewart St.
Milton, FL 32570

Lily of the Valley Ministries Inc.
1605 Murray St. Suite 224
Alexandria, La. 71301

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Project Katrina Volunteer

Project Katrina Volunteers is a single web location to facilitate the sharing of experiences by volunteers of the hurricane relief effort.

The web is a place for returning and on-site volunteers to share their thoughts and experiences.
For anyone considering volunteering or those who want to stay connected to the efforts this website will be a virtual, ongoing meeting and reunion location.



Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Quilt For Hurricane Survivors

Fortitude - A Quilt For Hurricane Survivors copyright 2007 leslie holly

I had decided to make a quilt for a gentleman on my Real People Relief site because he had moved back into his house without it being finished, without there being heat or hot water, without having a bed. I found out from his daughter what size bed she was buying him, and a few things about him and set about designing a quilt for him.
I'm a 5th generation quilter and take very much after my great grandmother, loving scrap quilts. So, I made this quilt with shirts or fabric donated by about 8 different people. While working on it, I looked at the names of the blocks - for they all have names - and was astounded at how appropriate they are. WhirlWind and Flying Blocks. WOW. The names, along with his sheer stubborn nature, I chose to name the quilt Fortitude.

Left Block - WhirlWind
Right Block - Flying Squares

I have written the directions up for anyone to use - trying to focus on the beginner. Here, I am supplying enough information for experienced quilters to work with. However, since the directions are 4 pages (With graphics), I can't post all of it.

The directions include a picture of a finished quilt, pictures of the blocks, the layout, the arrangement of some of the pieces, a table for figuring out size/size of block/number of blocks and working in "rounds" (round 1, round 2, etc.).

If you would like the directions via email, there is no cost. KatrinaCoalition@aol.com
If you would like the directions hard copy, email me for the address to send a whopping $5 to. I need to cover my costs. I'll send the directions and if you know what size blocks you'll use (I have 6"-12" listed in the directions), I'll print them up for you as well. If you're a beginner, I'd suggest 9". It's a great size to learn on without being too big.
As I make more of these, I'll post their pictures. If you make one, I'd love to post the picture of that as well! It's a great design that will work up in any color scheme. I'm pretty proud of it.
"During" the making of Fortitude.

I found a great site that has a yardage calculator far more accurate than the software I was using...
3/12 Just sent this off to a great lady who teaches at the Hancock County schools. Yes that's snow.
3/13 - Just heard from the "head quilter" of the group - 2 boys have joined the group of quilters and she'll be taking pictures as time goes on. Woo! I told her to tell the boys some of the most dramatic quilt designs have been by men - Giant Dahlia, Lone Star, Star of Twilight and my mom says Double Wedding Ring. Those are all 100 year old designs too!

3/9 A school in NH:
A quilt has been started here! After school yesterday, seven girls and two staff members started a weekly quilting meeting to make a quilt for your program. All these girls are beginners.
Becky A., our resident quilter, thought the "Fortitude" pieces were too difficult for beginners so she is using a simpler design. Becky said once she has these girls better trained they'll go with a Fortitude quilt.
They are hoping to have the first quilt finished early to mid April. We'll work out sending it to you or down to Mississippi then.
This is an exciting way to pick-up again with our Katrina efforts. I'm glad Miss Jeanne got us in contact.
3/19 - Now that I know the age of the beginners, WOW - the work they are doing is incredible!
Follow their progress in Pictures:

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Neighborhood Safety Network

Neighborhood Safety Network Database
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a critically important mission: to keep all consumers safe from harm from dangerous products. Unfortunately, we find that certain groups of Americans, such as the elderly, urban and rural low-income families, and some minority groups, often do not hear about our safety messages.
In order to carry out our mission more effectively, the CPSC has embarked on a special project to put our lifesaving information in the hands of these populations by creating the Neighborhood Safety Network. By entering your organization’s contact information into the NSN database, you are becoming a partner in our campaign to share lifesaving safety information with consumers who may not be aware of the many hazards that exist in and around the home.
CPSC will use the contact information you provide to send out posters, publications and announcements that are specially tailored to meet the needs of specific groups – such as child safety tips for new parents and fire safety advice for older Americans living on their own. With the responsibility to ensure the safety of over 15,000 consumer products, you will soon realize that CPSC has information that can benefit every American.

To sign up and be an active part of the program
The posters that we have made so far are available on our NSN Poster Page - the posters can be downloaded and printed.
Thank you for your participation in this initiative.

Bicycle Helmet Safety
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Childcare Center Safety
Choking Hazards for Children
Electric Safety
Falling Injury Awareness
Fireworks Safety
Grandparents' Home Safety
Halloween Safety
Holiday Safety
Holiday Toy Safety I
Holiday Toy Safety II
In-Home Drowning Awareness
Playground Safety
Pool Safety

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DIY Heat and Hot Water

I am posting these to allow folks an alternative if they can't afford new hot water heaters or furnaces during the rebuilding of their homes. It might allow them to use resources that would normally be carted off to the dump and thus, significantly reduce their costs both now and in the future.
These can also be used by volunteer agencies to help cut down on operating costs.
With wood being so plentiful in the form of standing timber that is most likely fully cured by now, it only makes sense to use it while it's good and while it is needed most.

Hot Water Heaters:
This link is a primer for choosing a solar method of heating water for household use:
It shows the various styles of heaters you can build along with pros and cons to each.

The following link is directions for one created by a gentleman living in FL where it freezes infrequently.

And this link is an article on the savings you will incur from building a solar hot water heater

Furnace/Boiler (3/14 have emailed them due to the order being returned unable to forward. Will let you know what I find out)
The following is directions on making an outdoor woodburner for home heating
3/16 - From an associate at MEN
The only illustrations we have on how to build this are in the Image Gallery at the top right of the article. We do not have the plans for this. We are the fourth publisher and some plans never made it to our office.
Heidi Hunt
Assistant Editor
Mother Earth News
1503 SW 42nd St.
Topeka, KS 66609
(785) 274-4322

An article written by a man who bought a manufactured Outdoor Wood Burner:

Other Heat Sources
Passive Solar Heating through your windows

Passive Solar Heating Through a Lean-to
By Clarence Goosen. A perfect solution for a mobile home or conventional house, this 5-by-8-foot structure offers supplemental heat and storage. Detailed plans cover siting, construction, assembly, a material list and 22 illustrations and photos. ($15)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Free Computers

Capital Area Corporate Recycling Council is gathering and refurbishing computers from around the country to meet the needs of displaced non-profits and families.
1,000 computers will be collected, refurbished and distributed, free of charge, to people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
If you need to contact us, we are available in the office Monday thru Friday, 8:00AM to 4:30PM.
Capital Area Corporate Recycling Council
800 Saint Philip St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: 225-379-3577

E-mail: recycle@cacrc.com
Website: http://www.cacrc.com

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Gulf Coast Civic Works Project

Call on Congress to support the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project
Click here to add your voice!

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project was proposed a few months ago by Prof. Scott Myers-Lipton, a Professor at San Jose State University, in California. His proposal captures, in simple language, a common-sense approach for rebuilding the Gulf, providing economic opportunity for Katrina survivors, as well as "restoring faith in the government’s social compact with its citizens."

This is a plan that should be embraced by every member of Congress and every American. It's a big, comprehensive initiative, but it's not a bloated program. It speaks to core American values of community and individual responsibility and equality of opportunity, while recognizing the importance of culture and history. And fundamentally, it makes sound economic sense.

There is no other plan that takes advantage of the economies of scale and available labor pool represented by the city's former residents for rebuilding. And it fits perfectly with the stated desires of officials at every level, who say they want to preserve the character of New Orleans and to make it possible for New Orleanians to return.

Here's the proposal as laid out by Prof. Myers-Lipton:

The Proposal:
The GC Civic Works Project will hire 100,000 Gulf Coast residents to rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding region. The residents, who will be given subsidized tickets back to their neighborhoods, will build and repair houses, schools, parks, and other civic buildings and spaces.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project accomplishes 4 things:
provide our citizens with living wage jobs,
make housing available for themselves and their communities,
restore a sense of personal empowerment and hope, something which has been stolen from our people, and
restore faith among our citizenry of the government’s ability to respond to the needs of its people through a public-private partnership.

Projected Cost:
Based on a ratio of labor to materials of 80-20, and a wage rate of $12 per hour, the total cost of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project is $3.125 billion. The projected cost of wages is $2.5 billion, while the cost of materials is $625 million.
Note that $3 billion is roughly 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of the war each month in Iraq according to the Congressional Budget Office. And while the Iraq War has been plagued with graft and corruption, similar large-scale civic projects have operated in the United States with little to no corruption.

Historical Precedent
This is not the first time that the United States has faced massive social suffering. Our senior citizens, as well as our history books, have passed on to the current generation, the pain and suffering that so many people experienced during the Great Depression.
When Americans were faced with this crisis, the people realized that self-help initiatives alone would not solve the people’s problems, and they turned to solutions that got things done. During the Depression, people didn’t want a handout, but a hand up.

The U.S. Government developed the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CWA employed 4 million workers immediately in construction work (i.e., school repair, sanitation work, road building, etc.). Within 2 weeks of starting the project, 814,511 were on the payroll; within 2 months, 4.2 million were working.

The Works Project Administration (WPA) replaced the CWA. In its 7-year history, the WPA employed a total of 8 million people and its accomplishments were many: the WPA built or improved 5,900 schools, 2,500 hospitals, and 13,000 playgrounds.

The CCC provided the opportunity for 500,000 young men (ages 18 to 25) to work on environmental conservation projects at 2,600 camps each year. The goal was to employ restless and discouraged young men, many of whom had previously roamed the nation looking for work. In addition to their salary, the youth provided educational assistance.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Donating Furniture

Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort From Katrina's Angels

Help the furniture industry help others.

The furniture industry is mobilizing to provide emergency assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina. You can help the victims of this disaster and others across the country in need each year by making a tax deductible financial gift. Your assistance enables us to provide mattresses, cribs, and linens to thousands of families who have lost everything. http://www.help1up.org/katrina/donate.php

Other Ways You Can Help

Please donate used home furnishings to a furniture bank near you. Find a bank near you! http://help1up.org/search.php

Home Furnishings Industry

Every company represented in this industry is needed to make animmediate and real difference. Help make a difference and become a sponsor today http://help1up.org/sponsorship/registration.php

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Looking Like A Gardening Pro

Community Gardens - what started all of this
Container Gardens - First Installment
Pest Control - Second Installment

Third Installment
It's easy to be a beginner and look like a pro with just a few tips. You can read up on other tips if you want, but this will work for the rest of your life if you don't want to go beyond this.

Amending Soil Technical for making it better.
There are strict formulas for good soil. We're not going that deep. All we're going to do is check the soil and add stuff.
It's hard to have too much organic material (floating stuff). So, when in doubt, add organic material.
Testing your soil the easy way:
1 spoon of soil to 5 spoons of water - keep the ratio and it doesn't matter what size your spoon is. Put in glass jar - shake. Let settle for 20 minutes.
Is anything floating? If there isn't much of anything floating - you need to add organic material.
Is there any small pebbles? If not, think about adding a bag or so per year.
Is the water still really cloudy? You have a lot of clay. Add sand, pebbles and organic material.
Organic material is what holds moisture, keeps air in the soil, and feeds the plants and worms. All vital to a good garden!
Pebbles/sand keep the soil from compacting so roots can breathe and water can drain.
You don't need to make it perfect instantly. You can do this throughout the year/years.

Composting - many ways!
Worms - http://www.wormpoop.com/WormBed/WormBed.htm If just one person in your area starts a worm farm, within just a few months, 4 will have enough, and you can keep spreading the wealth! Or, release them (when you have too many) back into the wild to aid the soil that way.
Blender - Using kitchen scraps of everything Except dairy and meat - put in your blender. Just cover with water. Blend until slushy consistency. Pour and mix into the soil around your plants. Instant food for both plant and worm.
Hot Composting - takes more work than the 2 above. A triple bin that the 3 bins are 1 cubic yard each (3'x3'x3') is best. Get enough stuff - a mix of leaves, grass clippings, weeds, kitchen scraps (no dairy or meat!), manure if you can to fill the first bin. Once you have it full, make sure it's as wet as a rung out sponge. Turn it 2-3 times/week. After 2 weeks, turn it into the next bin. Start the first bin over. After 2 weeks of turning both bins a couple times per week, move them over 1 bin. In about 1 week, the third bin is ready to use in the garden. This way gives you a steady supply, which is GOOD if your soil isn't doing so well.
Cold Composting - Easier, but you'll be waiting for a year. Add your organic material - just like above, to a pile - preferably 1 cubic yard, but can be bigger or smaller. Just add without turning - unless you want to stir it up. It's not vital. A year later, move the top layers to a new spot - right by the old pile. Use the old layers in your garden.

What the stupid letters mean:
N - nitrogen - makes pretty leaves
P - phosporous - makes strong roots and stems
K - potassium (potash) - makes pretty flowers and fruits.
I use a generic 10-10-10 or 12-12-12, spread lightly over the garden monthly. Since most of America's un-amended soil is depleted of all nutrients, it won't hurt to use this. Put it down before a nice rainstorm, but not one that you think will go over 1" - as it will wash the fertilizer away.
Letters they don't put in the fertilizer:
Ca - calcium - GREAT roots and fruit that doesn't fall off
It's too pricey so they don't put it in. Grind up eggshells or buy bone meal. Get eggshells at your local breakfast diner. They'll save them for you! I rinse them, bake them at 200 for 10 minutes, then grind them up in blender or mortle and pestle.
Mg - magnesium - Epsom Salts - BIG fruits and blooms. Scatter lightly in garden monthly.
ETOH - alcohol - keeps plants stocky to focus on fruits. 1 ounce per 5 gallons monthly.

Plant seeds at the depth they recommend. Too close and they'll make weak roots. Too deep and they'll never make it to the surface.
Plant plants to the bottom set of the leaves. Will make stronger root system for hot mid-summer days. Place a teaspoon of coffee grounds mixed with ground eggshells in hole with plant. Or water with a liquid fertilizer.
Pinch tops of flowering plants. Stick pinchings in soil - might root and will fill garden in that much more. Pinching will stimulate plant to make more stalks that will hold more blooms.

Use 1"-3" of organic material. Leaf mulch is best, but shredded wood will work. I don't recommend anything else. Rocks are too hot, don't hold moisture in and do nothing else for the soil. Bark, virtually the same reason. Pine needles, can be too acidic, blow away, float away and take more nutrients to break down than they release. Ditto pecan shells.
Place all around garden, leaving 1" all the way around the stems of the plants. Helps with bug control.
Mulch will hold moisture, moderate temperature extremes, control weeds and add nutrients to the soil.
AND, will make your garden look VERY polished.

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Youth Entrepreneurship Training program

Registrations due for training program

Advocate Baker - Zachary bureau
Published: Feb 11, 2007
ETHEL — The Feliciana Youth Institute is accepting registrations Feb. 12-26 for its Youth Entrepreneurship Training program to give teenagers information about starting their own small business.

The organization will offer workshops on handling personal finances, business management and planning, marketing strategies and technology.

Participants will examine industries in Louisiana, the U.S. and globally, and visit area businesses to view their operations, said Erika Roberts, a spokeswoman for Feliciana Youth Institute.

The institute, affiliated with Feliciana Family Outreach Center, offers youth leadership programs for young people 8 to 18 who are enrolled in its Monday Challenge Camp and After-School Program at 7166 La. 10, in Ethel.

Call Roberts or Tré Gradnigo at (225) 683-8270.


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When $110 Billion Isn't

5 states, 3 storms slice up federal pie
Sunday, February 11, 2007
By Bill Walsh
WASHINGTON -- In the wake of the brutal 2005 hurricane season, the White House and Congress made a point of repeatedly noting that $110 billion in federal aid had been dispatched to the Gulf Coast, the most ever for a disaster. The total was widely touted as a blessing.

But as the region struggles to rebuild 18 months later, the figure has become something of a political curse, especially for Louisiana officials who say they have been consistently shortchanged and are back in the nation's capital looking for more.

The new Democratic majority in Congress seems more than willing to cut bureaucratic red tape to speed the recovery, but hasn't committed to the infusion of new cash the state says it needs.
Republicans and the Bush administration, meanwhile, say the state needs to spend what it has first.

Louisianians making the rounds on Capitol Hill last week kept hearing the same question: Didn't we just send you $110 billion?

"I hear it all the time," said Walter Leger, of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state entity in charge of rebuilding programs. "It's frustrating."

The LRA estimates that in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana alone sustained upwards of $100 billion in losses, but hasn't gotten anywhere near that amount. Leger figures the state has $34 billion in "uncompensated losses."

A misinterpretation
He says the $110 billion in federal assistance for the Gulf Coast is widely misinterpreted. First, the money was divided among the five Gulf Coast states and covers damage from Katrina, Rita and Wilma, which hit south Florida. The LRA figures that Louisiana's share of that was about $59 billion, but even that is misleading.

About $18 billion came in the form of disaster relief, which includes the kind of post-crisis assistance -- health care, evacuee assistance, business loans -- the federal government routinely extends in a major crisis. An additional $14.7 billion was in payouts from the National Flood Insurance Program, for which Louisiana policyholders had paid premiums.

By the LRA's calculations, the state has received $26.4 billion in genuine federal help, including money to rebuild levees, homes, schools and community infrastructure.

"A lot has been said about the $110 billion," said Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge. "We just haven't seen it."

But skeptics of the state's position aren't hard to find in Washington. The skeptic in chief is President Bush, who has said that the state doesn't need more money, but to spend what it already has.

Shortchanged from start Exhibit A, he said, is Gov. Kathleen Blanco's Road Home housing program, which has been allocated nearly $12 billion; as of Thursday, 590 people had gotten checks totaling $38.3 million.

"I think it's important for the state and the parishes to use what they have right now," said Donald Powell, Bush's Gulf Coast recovery coordinator. "My job is to look at the needs and make recommendations for more funding. But I think anyone would be hard- pressed right now to recommend more funding when the vast majority of the state's federal funds remain unspent."

There also is no shortage of doubters on Capitol Hill. At a hearing last week, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said he thought Louisiana had enough. He read aloud comments Blanco made a year ago praising President Bush and touting the "carefully crafted, legitimate numbers" for the assistance received.

But Leger said Bachus was quoting her out of context and that Louisiana has been shortchanged from the start.

"If we got $59 billion, that means the rest went to Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, and we had four times the damage," Leger said. "That's not fair. That's what people ought to be looking at."

He and Democrats in the state's delegation told the House Financial Services Committee last week that Mississippi has fared far better because of its Republican political clout on Capitol Hill. In December 2005, Mississippi got $5.2 billion for housing recovery in an emergency supplemental spending bill and Louisiana got $6.2 billion, even though Louisiana had far more damage from flooding.

According to the Office of Gulf Coast Rebuilding, Louisiana had 204,737 homes destroyed or with major damage. Together, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas had 77,173.

It helped Mississippi's case in Congress that the man making the final spending decisions, Sen. Thad Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is the state's senior senator.

Louisiana officials say the unfairness continued in the supplemental spending package passed in the summer of 2006 in which the state got an additional $4.2 billion for housing. Leger estimated that the actual need was $8 billion to $9 billion, but because of Mississippi's clout, Louisiana's portion was limited.

"I don't begrudge Mississippi its money, but we have to ask what does it really take to fund the recovery?" Rep. William Jefferson, D- New Orleans, said. "There just isn't enough money starting out to measure up to the scope of the damage. The amount was pulled out of the air and politics took over."

The 10 percent rule
The disparity, they say, continues today. At the top of Blanco's wish list is waiving the requirement that Louisiana pay 10 percent of the disaster recovery costs. The Bush
administration reduced the amount from 25 percent, but the Blanco administration says it has cost Louisiana $400 million that could be spent on rebuilding and will cost plenty more.

She says that the federal government waived the local cost-share for Hawaii in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki hit and for Louisiana and Florida the same year after Hurricane Andrew. The local contribution was also waived for New York after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Powell, the Bush-appointed recovery coordinator, said that extra money was given to Louisiana to cover the state's share and that it's important for locals to take some "ownership of these

But state officials say they will be in a better position to help themselves when they receive a little more help from Washington.

A pamphlet members of the LRA were handing out on Capitol Hill last week quoted from Bush's Sept. 15, 2005, speech in Jackson Square promising "an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis."

"We are still waiting to be treated like other states," it says.
From Jenni

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

National, Local Responders Overwhelmed in Katrina's Wake

National responders overwhelmed by the task of providing relief to hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims shifted a significant burden onto smaller, locally based relief agencies, a new report commissioned by the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program at the Aspen Institute finds.
According to Weathering the Storm: The Role of Local Nonprofits in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort (48 pages, PDF), local groups received limited support and coordination from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross. Nevertheless, with more than one million people displaced by the storm, shelters sprouted up throughout the Gulf Coast region, often under the auspices of a church or human service provider. Little of the federal assistance or charitable support contributed in the hurricane's wake filtered down to these organizations, however, leading many of them to reduce their services or close their doors altogether.
The report recommends the creation of a high-level coordinating body that includes a wide range of private agencies positioned to respond to a major disaster, as well as the creation of a special congressional designation — to be used during exceptional crises — that, once invoked, would mandate the American Red Cross to contribute 5 percent of the funds it raises to locally based agencies. Written by Tony Pipa, a former executive-on-loan at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, the report also urges greater flexibility in the reimbursement and grantmaking policies of both FEMA and private foundations, with an eye to channeling funds and providing more general operating support to local organizations.
"With a disaster of this scale, every nonprofit becomes a disaster responder," said Melissa Flournoy, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations. "It's the smaller organizations that are so vital but that also need the most help."
“Aspen Institute Report Highlights Role of Grassroots Nonprofits in Disaster Relief.” Aspen Institute Press Release 8/29/06.
Primary Subject: Philanthropy and Voluntarism Secondary Subject(s): Hurricane Relief Location(s): Gulf Coast, Louisiana

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Help Is Too Far Away

Study Finds Mississippi Families Displaced by Hurricane Katrina Still Face Dire Health and Economic Woes, as Help Barely Reaches Those in Most Need

Children show signs of depression, anxiety and are missing school, while their parents suffer from mental health issues and no jobs

From: News Release and Study Filed 2/4/07 GCN

Thousands of Mississippi families, their lives shattered and uprooted by Hurricane Katrina 16 months ago, continue to suffer today, according to a new study issued Feb.2, 2007, by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and The Children’s Health Fund (CHF). The Mississippi Child & Family Health Study, "The Recovery Divide: Poverty and the Widening Gap Among Mississippi Children and Families Affected by Hurricane Katrina," indicates that Mississippi children displaced by the disaster are showing signs of depression, anxiety and general emotional and behavioral problems, with many lacking any health insurance and subsequently missing substantial amounts of school.

Their parent or caregivers are suffering from similar problems, ranging from depression and hypertension to post-traumatic stress syndrome. In addition, the region’s poorest families are sliding further down the economic scale, unable to find jobs to replace the ones they lost after the August 2005 hurricane. The Mississippi study was led by David Abramson of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP), in collaboration with The Children’s Health Fund and CHF’s Operation Assist.

The Mississippi study follows a similar one in February 2006 by the Mailman School and CHF of Louisiana families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The Louisiana study also found that mental health disability and psychological strain were rampant. Children who had been displaced were often socially and medically adrift – many of them were disengaged from schools, without adequate primary medical care, and living among very fragile families.

“Nearly a year and a half after the storm and flooding that devastated the Gulf, some 80,000 to 100,000 children remain trapped in conditions that have created wide-spread hopelessness and despair,” said Irwin Redlener, M.D., director of the NCDP and president of CHF. “Our ongoing clinical work with children in the FEMA trailers and this latest study suggest that as many as one in three children are already suffering from significant mental health, behavioral and school-related problems. This means that, extrapolating from our data, at least 25,000 to 35,000 children are already in serious trouble - with enormous consequences for the future.”

Interviewed for the study were Mississippi residents who were members of 576 randomly selected households displaced or heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina. They were interviewed from August 6 through August 26, 2006, and were from among more than 14,000 displaced and impacted households, representing more than 37,000 adults and children. Details on the study can be found at www.childrenshealthfund.org. Among the key findings:

· More than half of the parents and caregivers interviewed reported that at least one child in the household had experienced emotional or behavioral issues since the hurricane. That is a higher rate than reported among displaced Louisiana residents six months after the hurricane.

· There was a near fourfold increase in the clinical diagnosis of depression or anxiety in children after the hurricane. Similarly, the prevalence of behavioral problems doubled.

· The Poverty Penalty: Households that had been among the working class and the working poor at the time of Katrina were most vulnerable to the economic impact – 53% of households with an annual income below $10,000 lost all salaried jobs in the household after the hurricane, compared to 15% of households with annual income above $20,000. Reinforcing this notion of the economic tenuousness of their lives, among those living in FEMA trailer parks only half had access to a bank account and only 16% had a credit card whereas in the impacted community areas 87% had access to a bank account and 49% had a credit card.

· Parents and caregivers reported high rates of mental health distress and disability, well above what is the norm for populations suffering from a debilitating chronic disease and even higher than Louisiana caregivers surveyed in February 2006.

· More than 60 percent of Mississippi caregivers showed high levels of clinical anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder in mental health tests.

· Rates of diagnosed hypertension among all adults increased by 35% since the hurricane.

· One out of six children who needed medical care for an illness or injury since the hurricane did not seek care.

· Three times as many children were without health insurance since Katrina, as compared to before the hurricane. Children in Mississippi are uninsured at twice the rate as children in Louisiana, post-Katrina.

· Among elementary school children from six to 11 years old, nearly a third had missed at least 10 days of school in a given month during the last quarter of the spring 2006 semester, and four out of 10 teenagers missed at least 10 days of school in a given month during the same period. “More than a year since the hurricane, Mississippi residents most severely impacted are under siege by mental health issues,” said Abramson, lead author of the study, with Richard Garfield and Dr. Redlener. “These documented high rates of depression, anxiety, and emotional issues among both parents and children, compound the economic hurdles these families face as they try to regain some normalcy in their lives.”

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Mailman School of Public Health is an academically-based, inter-disciplinary program focused on the nation’s capacity to prevent and respond to terrorism and major disasters. The NCDP provides curriculum development in bioterrorism, training for public health professionals and other first responders, development of model programs, a wide-ranging research agenda and public policy analysis around issues germane to disaster preparedness. www.ncdp.mailman.edu

The only accredited school of public health in New York City, and among the first in the nation, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health provides instruction and research opportunities to more than 950 graduate students in pursuit of masters and doctoral degrees. Its students and more than 300 multi-disciplinary faculty engage in research and service in the city, nation, and around the world, concentrating on biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, population and family health, and sociomedical sciences. www.mailman.hs.columbia.edu

The Children’s Health Fund, founded in 1987, is committed to providing health care to the nation’s most medically underserved children through the development and support of innovative pediatric programs and the promotion of guaranteed access to appropriate health care for all children. To date, The Children’s Health Fund’s national network of 21 pediatric programs has treated more than 350,000 children. For more information visit www.childrenshealthfund.org.

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Volunteer Org Advocacy Group

I'm not stating any group should join, but they do have a wealth of information on demographics, volunteer retention, use of donations, etc. The lowest annual dues are $350. I also couldn't get to their sample newsletter, so can't state whether that's a good item to look at or not, but their free information IS.

The Power of the Hour
The estimated dollar value of volunteer time is $18.04 per hour for 2005.
The link has a table that provides a historical look at volunteering and its estimated dollar value. Assuming that the same number of volunteer hours was served in 2005 as in 2000, the total dollar value of volunteer time for 2005 is estimated at $280 billion.

Learn more about these figures, including how they are calculated and how nonprofit organizations often use them at the bottom of the page in the above link.

The dollar value of volunteer time for 2006 will be released later this spring.

The Power of College Students

Since September 2001, the overall percent of college students who volunteer has increased from 27.1 percent to 30.2 percent, exceeding the volunteer rate for the general adult population of 28.8 percent.

Tutoring and mentoring youth (26.6 and 23.8 percent, respectively) are the most common volunteer activities among college student volunteers.

39.2 percent of black college students mentor when they volunteer, compared to 22.3 percent of white college students.

Between 2003 and 2005, college students followed the national trend in volunteering, with females (33 percent) volunteering at a higher rate than males (26.8 percent), and whites (32 percent) volunteering at a higher rate than students of other races and ethnicities (23.6 percent).

College students were twice as likely to volunteer as individuals of the same age who are not enrolled in an institution of higher education (30.2 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively).

While 23.4 percent of college student volunteers serve with religious organizations, 34.8 percent of the general adult volunteer population serves through such organizations.

Students who work 1 to 10 hours per week part-time (46.4 percent) are more likely to volunteer than those who do not work at all (29.8 percent).

Volunteering rates decline substantially as college students work more hours. Students who work 31 to 35 hours and 36 to 40 hours volunteer at rates of 22.8 percent and 23.2 percent, respectively.

College student volunteers (27%) are more likely to be episodic volunteers (volunteering fewer than two weeks per year with their main organization) than the general adult volunteer population (23.4%). Nevertheless, 44.1 percent of college student volunteers also engage in regular volunteering (volunteering 12 or more weeks per year with their main organization).

Service learning linked to positive civic attitudes among youth

Volunteer management practices - Free publications

Tips for People Who Want Volunteer


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Container Gardening

Community Gardens - what started all of this
2/10 Pest Control - second installment
2/11 Looking Like A Pro - third installment

First installment to go with the Community Gardens Recovery Garden Program:
Container Gardening

Rule #1: If it can hold soil, it can hold a plant.
As long as you can make it drain water, you can use it as a container for plants. I’ve seen people put plants in old boots! That’s going a bit far, BUT here’s a partial list of items that are in just about every community that you can use:
Milk Jugs
Big Soda Bottles
Old Dresser Drawers
Old Desk Drawers
Old Fridge Drawers
Just make sure there’s enough room for drainage material, roots and at least an inch of space at the top of the container. The larger the plant, the deeper the root space must be.
Consider letting the kids paint them to make them look prettier. It gets them involved!

Rule #2: Give the plants some breathing room.
People used to put gravel and such in the bottoms of the containers for this purpose. But when you’re looking at larger containers, that idea gets heavy. Line the bottoms of your containers with about an inch of something. Here’s a list of items you can use to give some air space in the bottoms of the containers:
Broken terra cotta
Packing Peanuts (my favorite!)
Crumpled Plastic Grocery Bags
Styrofoam pieces
Strips of cardboard set vertically rather than on its face

Rule #3: Be prepared to water.
This can be tricky. Containers don’t have the luxury of the ground to wick moisture from surrounding soil. But watering too much will kill the plants faster than never watering. Check the soil with your finger. Go in to the soil about to the second knuckle. If your fingertip is damp, there’s enough water. If it’s dry, water until it’s dripping out of the bottom of the container.
Mulch the soil. This will add nutrients, keep the soil some cooler and help retain the moisture it already has. No more than an inch and keep it from touching the stems of the plants if you can.

Rule #4: Fertilize lightly.
Containers can’t tolerate many of the time-released versions of granular fertilizer you would use on the ground. The plants will burn up from the nitrogen. Liquid based fertilizers are best. An easy fertilizer – Epsom salts and milk. When you’ve emptied a milk container. Fill it with water, put a teaspoon of Epsom salts in and water your plants with that. Skim milk is best for this.

Rule #5: Protect your containers from the extremes.
Extreme heat will keep most plants from producing many flowers or fruits. South East exposure is best. This will give them the 6 hours of sun, but will keep them out of the heat of the sun and air in the afternoon. They’ll still droop in the afternoon, but we humans do too, so don’t worry. Consider painting your containers a light color to help reflect some of the heat away. Cluster your containers so they can shelter each other.

Rule #6: Anything will grow in a container, but…
Some plants are better suited to container gardens than others:
Herbs tend to do very well.
Carrots (if they don’t get too hot)
Beets (ditto)
Cucumbers (if they have room to climb)
Bush Beans
Pole Beans (again, room to climb)
Cooler vegetables don’t like containers so much unless planted very early. They just get too hot.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

New Study Stress and Displacement on Children

Sent to me by Jeanne
Published: February 03, 2007 07:56 pm

Report: Up to 35,000 kids still having major Katrina problems

Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Up to 35,000 children, one-third of those across the Gulf Coast still displaced by Hurricane Katrina, are having major problems with mental health, behavior or school, a new study indicates.

To make things worse, many of their parents are depressed as well, leaving them less able to help the children, said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness and president of the Children’s Health Fund, which conducted the study together.

More than 60 percent of the parents and caregivers tested high for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, the report said. That is well above what is usually seen among people with debilitating chronic diseases, and even higher than Louisiana caregivers reported six months after the storm, it said.

“I’ve been doing advocacy and direct services for kids for more than 30 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Redlener said in an interview Friday.

Every day in the continued post-Katrina instability many are living through damages their chances of recovery, he said.

“What I’m concerned about is the long-term consequences for these kids will be horrendous in terms of academic achievement, mental health conditions and long-term ability to recover,” he said.

The Columbia/CHF report said more than half the parents and caregivers interviewed reported that at least one child had emotional or behavioral problems since the hurricane. That is an even higher rate than displaced Louisiana residents reported six months after Katrina, it said.

“Furthermore, there was a near fourfold increase in the clinical diagnosis of depression or anxiety in children after the hurricane, and the prevalence of behavioral or conduct problems doubled,” the report said.

The study released Friday includes findings of a recent Mississippi follow-up to a study done in Louisiana and reported last year by The Associated Press. Taken together, they indicate that between one-quarter and one-third of the displaced children are having serious problems, Redlener said.

The total number of children still living in FEMA trailers, not only in trailer parks, which he described as essentially refugee camps, but in the front yards of devastated neighborhoods, is somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000, Redlener said.

He said he is “quite comfortable” with an estimate that 25,000 to 35,000 of them are in serious trouble.

At a guess, he said, about two-thirds are in Louisiana and the rest in Mississippi and other states, with most of the remaining one-third in Mississippi.

The first study looked at 668 randomly chosen households in Louisiana’s FEMA trailer parks and FEMA-subsidized hotel rooms; the follow-up looked at 576 Mississippi househoulds in FEMA trailer parks. Together, they represent more than 26,000 households in the two states.

The new study also found that:

— The working class and the working poor were hurt worst: in more than half the households earning less than $10,000 a year, people had lost their jobs, compared to 15 percent of those earning more than $20,000 a year.

— One in six children who needed medical care for an illness or injury had not seen a doctor.

— Three times as many children were without health insurance after Katrina than before the hurricane; Mississippi children were twice as likely as those in Louisiana to be uninsured.

— Nearly one-third of children aged 6 to 11 years had missed at least 10 days of school in one month during the last quarter of the spring 2006 semester. Four out of 10 teenagers missed that much school.

Other health organizations also see signs of problems among children following Katrina. Joy Osofsky, a clinical and developmental psychologist at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, said more than one-third of the children screened at schools in New Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes show serious problems.

They used a national screening test for children and adolescents who have been through hurricanes. In the winter following the August 2005 storm and in spring 2006, about 49 percent met the cutoff score for mental health referral; this past fall, the figure had dropped to 41 percent, she said.

“We’re certainly not seeing a huge dropoff in mental health symptoms and problems,” she said.

The federally funded Louisiana Spirit crisis counseling program saw at least 150,000 adults and children over its first year, said Dr. Tony Speier, director of disaster mental health operations for the state Office of Mental Health.

He said about 500 counselors work in the program.

“Five-hundred counselors, at one level, sounds like a lot of counselors, which it is. But when you stretch that across 64 parishes and the whole population grid — unfortunately, we could use a lot more.”

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

MS Homestead Tax Article

From Jenni
Homestead exemption deadline is looming
Application only has to be filed once
The tax season is already under way and now is the time for South
Mississippians to file or change their homestead exemption if they
need to do so.

The homestead exemption is a tax break given to homeowners who meet
certain qualifications, according to Wilburn Bolen, tax assessor in
George County. To get the tax break, a homeowner must be a
Mississippi resident and the head of household; the deed to the
property must be in the homeowner's name and the home must be the
primary residence.

The tax break may be up to $300 and is calculated on the assessed
value of the home. The assessed value is roughly 10 percent of the
market value. If a home has a market value of $75,000, the assessed
value is $7,500. The homestead exemption is $6 for every $150 of
assessed value, giving the maximum credit for homes valued at
$75,000 or more.

People age 65 or older or people with permanent disabilities may get
an even larger tax break.

To receive the homestead exemption tax credit, homeowners file an
application with the county tax assessor. With the application,
homeowners must provide proof of ownership before Jan. 1 of the year
for which they are filing. Once the application is filed, homeowners
do not have to file again until there is some change in ownership or
qualification status.

A change in ownership status can include selling a portion of the
land, or even adding a tract to the deed. It is the homeowner's
responsibility, as the taxpayer, to file a new homestead-exemption
application when ownership or status changes take place.

Homestead-exemption applications can be filed from Jan. 1 until
April 1. The credit will be deducted from the amount of real-estate
tax due the following year.

The homestead exemption may be lost in cases of delinquent income
taxes or possessing a vehicle with a tag from a different county or

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MS Govt Food Program Contacts

This program assists agencies working with elderly and children:


NSLP, SFSP Contact:Priscilla Ammerman, DirectorPurchasing and Food DistributionMS Department of Educationpammerman@mde.k12.ms.us

CSFP Contact:Mary GalesBranch Director Mississippi Dept. of HealthP. O. Box 1700 ( Riverview Bldg., 2095 Dunbarton St. - Jackson, Ms 39216 )Jackson, Ms 39215-1700Tel: (601) 987-4680Email: mgales@msdh.state.ms.us

TEFAP Contacts:Ms. Jane Smith Food Distribution Administrator and Nutrition Education CoordinatorMississippi Depart. of Human ServicesAdministrative UnitP.O. Box 352Jackson, MS 39205Tel: (601) 359-4812Fax: (601) 359-4435E-mail: jesmith@mdhs.state.ms.us

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Friday, February 02, 2007

State Gov't Grant

Grants awarded under this announcement are to provide disaster relief and assistance funds to those State Units on Aging (SUAs) and tribal organizations who are currently receiving a grant under Title VI of the Older Americans Act, as amended. These funds only become available when the President declares a National Disaster and may only be used in those areas designated in the Disaster Declaration issued by the President of the United States. Eligible SUAs and Title VI grantees should discuss all disaster applications with Regional staff before submitting a formal application. The amount of funds requested should be discussed with Regional staff before the application is completed and providing a draft of the planned application is helpful. This will expedite the application and award process. Applicants are also encouraged to coordinate with the State Emergency Management Office in developing information for their application. State Units on Aging (SUAs) and federally recognized tribal organizations currently receiving a grant under Title VI of the Older Americans Act must submit proposals electronically via www.grants.gov. At www.grants.gov, you will be able to download a copy of the application packet, complete it off-line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov website.

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Americorp Education Grant

Deadline 2/15/07
The Corporation’s mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. In the FY 2007 competition, we will give special consideration to projects that address one or a combination of four strategic initiatives that meet critical needs of our nation, achieve national service goals, and address community problems: 1. Mobilizing more volunteers. 2. Ensuring a brighter future for all of America’s youth. 3. Engaging students in communities. 4. Harnessing baby boomers’ experience. Additional programs and program models that may receive special consideration in the selection process are described in the AmeriCorps regulation § 2522.450 (http://www.nationalservice.gov/ pdf/45CFR_chapterXXV.pdf).

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