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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Season In Need

I know we all have people in our communities needing assistance with the holidays. But I want to highlight the needs that are still being unmet along the Gulf Coast since hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

So many people are still unable to celebrate the holidays in any fashion. Paying bills is proving too difficult, much less the luxuries of a big meal or gifts being within their budgets.

I have had 3 new families join the Real People Relief blog in the last month alone. All of these folks are just not able to keep up with life. Commutes are longer. Pay is less. Bills are 20%-100% higher. 2 income families are splitting, leaving 1 income to pay all the bills. 1 income families are losing their jobs. Even for a week, this proves catastrophic. 12/12/07 - 2 new families in as many days. Please consider helping!

And every family has but one wish - for Christmas for the children. The children! Not for themselves - the adults. But their children.

I have sent a note out to my family and friends, asking them to join me in assisting 3 families through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year, I helped 1 family. This year, it needs to be more. Why? Because hope is fading. Donations to organizations are dwindling (for the very reasons listed above). Those of us who can, even in the smallest of ways, must step up and help.

Very soon, I will be posting information on organizations needing assistance for their holiday plans. As I receive the information, the pages will be updated.
Here's the link for easier access

I ask YOU to do something.
- a sample is here:
Write a letter to the editor
Write a letter to your local churches

Make a poster (use or copy) post at local public gathering places (laundromats, restaurants, schools, colleges, etc.)

I'll be doing all of the above, as well as helping 3 of my families. What are you going to do? Let me know - write a comment or write to me directly and I'll post the general information.

12/8 Well, that 200 is still being spent. I went to Reader's Digest online ED.com - and ordered 9 subscriptions to the same families who are getting the National Geographic for Kids. This way, both adults and kids will have something to look forward to all year. AND - by paying when I ordered, I got 3 subscriptions for the price of 1. Which makes it so I can add a family (small one) to buy for. I hope to do that tomorrow. We'll see.
I've sent out close to 20 boxes so far - and that's just my collection of stuff. I do hope to get a call or two from local churches as well, but I'm not holding out hope. Life around here is very hard - not a lot of good work to be had.
I heard from my contact at the City of Waveland and found out at least 2 organizations are going to be helping with their Xmas assistance program because of the page I set up. Good! They had 2 dozen families signed up before they even announced they were doing this. So, it's scary how many people are still in need.
My sister sent my the list of items they have collected thus far for Thai and her family. It truly excites me that it will be such a good Xmas for them!
I have more fun doing Xmas this way than 'the normal way'. I don't need anything. I don't have ROOM for anything more. So why have people get stuff for me or I get anything for them?
I'd love to hear what others are doing this Christmas. Let me know and I'll make posts for each.

12/3 WOW - a friend just dropped me a $200 check! I was thinking maybe 100. WOW. So, 3 families are getting everything for a tree. The tree itself (prelit), tree skirt, tinsel, tree topper, ornaments, and hooks.
The check has also just bought 2 more subscriptions to National Geographic for Kids - it will be read by 7 kids who get to look forward to it all year long. My kind of Christmas gift!
I still have money left, so will be checking my list again and seeing what I can come up with for folks. Ha! Life is good!
I've shipped clothes to the 9 girls, a tree kit to 1 family, have boxed up another tree kit for another family and have shipped the rest of the stuffed animals out to Waveland - about 40 left from the girls. I still have to go through the shoes I got, but that's what tomorrow is for.

12/2 Luck has remained with me for once! I called a guy who had an ad in the paper about stuffed animals. Not only those, but girls clothes as well. I got all of the stuff yesterday for about $.30 per piece, washed it, cleaned it, sorted it and packed it up for my dad to take to the post office tomorrow. 9 girls have at least one new outfit each - if the stuff all fits! I have NO clue how parents buy for their kids. There are 2 different sets of S,M,L and then the overlap between kids and adults. I glazed over after awhile. Crap! So, I truly hope the stuff fits. It's all great clothing - Old Navy, Ltd, etc.

Plus, some toys thrown in just because and the rest of the stuffed animals will be sent to Waveland's Xmas program. They have 23 families thus far and have no idea how they'll cover them all. http://katrinanetworking.blogspot.com/2007/11/waveland-ms-christmas-needs.html
And another friend from the CoHR is going to buy what she can for a family that has dealt with health issues and death ever since The Storm hit. So I have to recount, but this is 6 completely and 8 partially. Great compared to last year!

Thank you to everyone, and please, keep up the great work!


11/14 - Update. Well, between my friends and family, we are helping 7 families have Thanksgiving and at least 3 have a real Christmas (11/26 *5* completely and 7 partially). I am thrilled and blessed to know such generous people. THIS is what Thanksgiving is about.

11/26 A friend has purchased 3 trees and 3 sets of 50 ornaments to send down, so am waiting to find the right families who will have something to put under the trees to send them.

Another friend has purchased 7 subscriptions to National Geographic For Kids that will give 13 kids something to look forward to all year long!

A family member's work department has sponsored one of the larger families on Real People Relief for Christmas and are starting to collect the items on their collective list as well as gift cards from some of their vendors!

A new friend (through the relief effort) has adopted 2 of the single families to assist throughout the year as well as this Christmas.

A family friend is taking care of Christmas for a new family on the list. It's a larger family too, so this is wonderful!

My latest project is complete. I have made 6 Christmas stockings for 2 of the families. 1 is being taken care of by one of the above mentioned and the other is the family my mother and I are taking care of for Christmas. The picture is at the top....

11/27 - I just got done shopping for this week. I do NOT see what the allure is. I never have. However, I went to Kohl's and got 50% off all toys, and then my mother paid for them, getting another 15% off the total. Woo! Shopping in teams really makes it worth the effort.

I also was able to have 60 stuffed animals promised to me for $15 by a father of 3 girls who have grown up. I may get some of the clothes too, we'll see if the woman going Thursday takes them all, or just some. So I'll be able to send more Christmas to more families than I thought! That makes me very happy! Go through your classifieds!

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