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Kids of Katrina updates

Things are tying up with Kids of Katrina . We got the word yesterday that a truck will be here (at my house) to pick up the stuff - 140 boxes at last count and people are still dropping items off - tomorrow.

I'd like to give a HUGE thanks to uship.com who arranged for the transport of the goods and Aaron for putting that together and dealing with my anxieties and general pushiness. I spoke to the driver yesterday; very nice guy who is eager to do something to help.

Trish will be meeting the truck in Texas. Because the Houston school district reached its limits on accepting supplies, we had to find somewhere else to send them. I, of course, panicked, but Trish just called the Chamber of Commerce to find out who needed the items the most. Trish's follow up email:

OK, I have a destination. I live in a very small town outside of Houston and I called the chamber of commerce and the shelters to find out where the needs are. The Red Cross is overwhelmed with donations and they have an over abundance of supplies right now. In Dayton, Liberty, Baytown and surrounding suburbs of Houston, they are getting less donations. There are 3 apartment complexes that are each housing 30 families each. The manager of the apartments, Susan Shepherd, said that they have NOTHING, and are last on the list to get donations and the kids have no supplies and are registering for school today. She started crying when I called her and asked her if I could get the stuff to her there. She said she would accept delivery of all the supplies and the various apartment complex staff would help unload the supplies. I told her that I would take the morning/afternoon (whatever) off and help, and make sure it got to the right place.

So all the school supplies, plus the baby items (diapers, wipes, NEW clothing, food, toys, books, stuffed animals) and lots of personal hygeine products (oh and a baby walker, and bouncy seat, and children's medication) will go right into the hands of people who need it most.

Trish has arranged for a radio station to be there when the truck arrives and she will also be taking photos, which I will post here. Trish also said that she is going to try to keep tabs on these families and maybe when Christmas rolls around, we can do something nice for them.

When the truck is unloaded there, Tim the driver will head over to Baton Rouge, where Dave will be waiting for the enormous amount of school supplies to be delivered.

Thank you a million times to both Dave and Trish for all they have done to make this a success.

And to all of you who donated items and/or money - you've seen the pictures of just how much we have to send down. All the readers who donated, my co-workers and neighbors and family and friends - just amazing. And everything is new and top of the line, people really went all out to make these children feel good.

I want to call attention to Yvonne , who started up her own drive in California in conjunction with Kids of Katrina. Not only did she get all her neighbors to donate, she got the PO to ship the stuff down to Trish for free and then (I hope she doesn't kill me for printing her mail):

I just ran into a nurse at target. She had just come back from San Antonio where she said the victims are being completely ignored. She told me of a lady she met. Her husband was killed in the storm. She is having a baby, due on the 30th. She also has a daughter who's 8 and a son who's 5.

She said they had bought her a cell phone so they could keep in touch and she gave me her phone number. I was scared to call, but I did and I spoke with her. She has NOTHING. She said she has nothing for the baby. So, I'm getting stuff for her and shipping her what I can, even some of my clothes (maternity and NON maternity, she happens to be my size). I'm going to post about it, so if anyone has things they can help her with, they can do so.

The nurse told me she's OUTRAGED at how the people who aren't at the Astrodome are being completely ignored, she said she called the mayor and the LA times because it's disgusting her and she's angry.

It was so crazy, speaking to someone who's actually been affected and who was left without anything. I was crying while talking to her. She sounded very grateful and it feels good to know I'll be helping, even if it only is a little.

If you are in the San Antonio area and want to help this woman (and others like her), let me know and I'll put you in touch with Yvonne.

So, I still have $1000 left to spend of the donated money and this is what I'm going to do: schoolkidz.com (coincidentally, I gave them a plug here back in July)has Hurricane Relief Kits for students - a ton of supplies in one package for five dollars each. I'm going to order 200 of those and schoolkidz is going to pick up the shipping tab. I'm going to pick one of the places here to have the supplies delivered to unless you know of a specific school district in ANY state taking in kids that might need these kits.

So that's where we are at. I spent the last two days measuring boxes (so uship could get an accurate idea of what kind of truck we needed) and now labeling each box as to whether it's going to Houston or Baton Rouge. I'm going to take one last picture of what my house looks like (I've loved doing this, but I want my house back!) and then I'll take photos of the stuff going on the truck tomorrow and then it's on to Trish and Dave.

Again, thank you to EVERYONE. I'll have a more formal list of thank yous - and I mean listing EVERYONE who sent items/donated (and 99% of the Amazon orders were delivered to me on time!) to the cause. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


As the Kids of Katrina campaign reaches fruition I wanted to take a moment to express and feeling I am sure many of you readers share. I agree completely with the sentiment of Times Like These but usually people just don't know what to do. Sending a donation to the Red Cross or Salvation Army seems so inadequate and impersonal by itself. What is needed is a core point around which people can rally and concentrate their efforts.

A place that will take all the little actions and abilities of a group and magnify them into a truly productive effort and this time that point was you, Michele. Without your efforts and drive all the little things each of us were able to do would have been useless. You provided a way each of us could contribute whatever we had. Obviously some contributed more than others but your coordination made all of these efforts into a larger result. Truly a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

For this reason I want to Thank you. Just knowing that I could contribute helped relieve the grief and helplessness of just staring at the television screen and saying "Oh, my God."

While I am on the subject of God. Your actions and those of all the people helping out just reinforces my belief that God does exist. I don't see how we could share a connection to people we have never met without something inside all of us tying us together and that I believe is the true essence of God.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking on this task and helping so many people both those from New Orleans and those of us who stood by feeling helpless until your focal point came into our lives.

Thank you.

I am not mad that you printed my email, but HAD I KNOWN, I totally would have written it a lot more gooder. ;-)

Yvonne, I thought the same thing when I read MY email, LOL.

You might want to Check with Perth Amboy NJ. I know that mayor in that town opened the schools and the town up to people dispalced by the Hurricane

I'm in Pflugerville, TX. There are several children in each of my kids schools, but I'm pretty sure they're okay. It's all the kids and families at the Austin Convention Center I was thinking of. If you e-mail me, I'll try to get some more specific info.