hurricane relief
August 30, 2005 8:13 AM   Subscribe

How can I help after the hurricane?

I live in Louisiana, have two hands and lots of time. Where can I go and what can I do? Does anybody know? I called the local Red Cross chapter a couple of days ago, but I'm sure they're busy now.

If you can't think of something for now, how about saying how we can be ready to help next time, e.g., classes to take, etc.
posted by atchafalaya to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
CNN has a list of agencies who need volunteers and donations.
posted by Kellydamnit at 8:22 AM on August 30, 2005

Boing Boing has a bit of info -- they suggest Red Cross. It looks like they can use money and volunteers more than anything; since you're in the area I'd recommend the latter.
posted by danb at 8:57 AM on August 30, 2005

Previous post has some info too.
posted by SpecialK at 9:46 AM on August 30, 2005

I just called my local Red Cross and their message about Katrina says that they are only looking for volunteers who have already been through Red Cross training. It may be different in your neck of the woods. Also, the national Salvation Army website has a form you can fill out to volunteer.
posted by bendy at 10:05 AM on August 30, 2005

It looks like it may vary by the RC chapter. This news item says they'll take anyone. If you're determined perhaps you should call around.
posted by phearlez at 12:54 PM on August 30, 2005

This thread sort of got called out here.
posted by fixedgear at 1:22 PM on August 30, 2005

In case anyone stumbles across this probably-dead thread, I am adding an epilogue.

I'm sure the advice given in answer to atchafalaya's question is solid. However, atchafalaya went anyway, and was part of a group that actually accomplished something. (His post is the 25th one if I counted right.)

I'm jealous.
posted by Jaie at 7:09 PM on September 1, 2005

Response by poster: Lessons learned for volunteers from Hurricane Katrina:

If you go to the scene, bring as much food, water and fuel as you can to stay there as long as you can. FEMA and other agencies will put up roadblocks, but they won't be between you and where help is needed, if you get close enough.

Be prepared to work at night. All the agencies will pull out at night, and if you can be there, you'll be the only one on the scene. For security, get together with other people on the scene, or find some law enforcement to camp next to, or arm yourself. Camp as close as you can to the action, or use the afternoon and evening to find new trouble spots.

Get there early. Nobody was there before 7 am., except other independents. If you can be on the scene at 6 am., you can get a lot done before it gets hot.

Print up serious looking credentials. These will be invaluable for getting past officious types and roadblocks. Laminated is best. Uniforms or matching iron-on T-shirts, at least, are a big help. Vehicle decals too. Be prepared to bluff your way through.

Make teams, and appoint team leaders. Even if they get split apart, at least somebody knows where the other guys are. Keep a roster of the guys you have involved. Make copies and distribute them. Designate a rally point and time for the end of the day.

Get maps. Stop at a gas station; nobody had good maps, and it showed.

Get good commo if you can. The cell network was down, and easy communication was impossible. We could have saved some hassle if we'd had good radios, using agreed on frequencies.

Initiative is everything. Don't listen to anyone who tells you to wait for word from higher.
posted by atchafalaya at 9:25 AM on September 3, 2005 [1 favorite]

atchafalaya, I'm really impressed. Thanks so much.
posted by tizzie at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2005

Wow atchafalaya, bless your heart. Good on ya, boy.
posted by dejah420 at 10:25 PM on September 3, 2005

atchafalya, thanks for sharing - and thanks so much for going above and beyond to be a good neighbor. Is there any way we can support your efforts?
posted by madamjujujive at 3:24 AM on September 4, 2005

Thank you!!
posted by roboto at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2005

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